Charges reduced, Bedford man receives probation

-A A +A
By Tom Wilmoth

A Bedford man, who had entered no contest pleas in Bedford County Circuit Court in February to charges that he solicited sex from a minor he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, received probation after the charges were reduced during a sentencing hearing Tuesday.

Ryan A Overstreet, 28, originally entered his pleas in February, but adjudication of the pleas and sentencing were delayed until a pre-sentence report was completed. As a result of that report, which identified Overstreet as low risk to re-offend, Bedford County Commonwealth's Attorney Randy Krantz agreed to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor charge of distributing obscene items and a felony charge of distributing obscene items as a second offense.

Overstreet pleaded guilty to those amended charges. He had originally faced two felony charges: using a computer to solicit sex from a minor and attempted indecent liberties with a minor.

The charges stemmed from online chats he had with an undercover investigator with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office. He was accused of soliciting the officer, who he thought was a 13-year-old minor, on the computer and then traveling to meet her at an undisclosed location. The chats between the officer and Overstreet began in January 2007 and culminated in his arrest in April 2007.

Overstreet received a 5 year sentence from Circuit Court Judge James Updike on the felony charge and 12 months on the misdemeanor. The sentences were to run concurrently and all jail time was suspended.

Overstreet was placed on three years of supervised probation. He is not to have access to the Internet, unless approved so by his probation officer for employment. He is also not to have any unsupervised contact with minors.

Krantz said by going to counseling Overstreet had taken responsibility. Krantz said Overstreet's actions were more of sexual exploration as opposed to sexual exploitation.