Former WF teacher found guilty for luring minor for sex
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Nearly two years after a former West Fargo High School computer science teacher had inappropriate conversations with who he believed was a 14-year-old Florida girl, a 12-person jury handed down a guilty verdict.
59-year-old Ronald Thompson faces up to 10 years in prison, but will remain out on bond while a pre-sentence investigation is completed.
The verdict came after four hours of deliberations in a three-day trial where Cass County prosecutors showed explicit conversations between Thompson and ‘Gabi,’ who was actually an undercover officer in Tampa, Fla.
“May I ask why you come to this room? You like to be naughty?” Thompson wrote in one of the earlier messages in the chatroom.
Time and time again, Thompson’s defense attorney Jeff Bredahl argued Thompson didn’t commit a crime because Thompson never set up an in-person meeting with the teen girl. Bredahl said while the conversations were morally wrong, they were not illegal.
“The world is a messy place. And that’s not how we judge people based no matter how messy they are or how lonely they are,” Bredahl told the jury in his closing statements Thursday afternoon.
Bredahl told the jury Thompson had been going on chatrooms for over 10 years due to marital problems with his wife.
“We’re very grateful for the verdict that the jury gave in this case. It’s been hard-fought on both sides for a couple of days and no doubt, a lot of anxious moments, but we’re pleased with how things turned out,” Cass County Assistant State’s Attorney Ryan Younggren said.
Thompson will be sentenced at a later date that has not yet been scheduled.
Copyright 2021 KVLY. All rights reserved.