Man who admitted to molesting 11-year-old girl gets five years probation
© Green County Sheriff’s Office

A 22-year-old man from Missouri who admitted to molesting an 11-year-old girl has been sentenced to five years of supervised probation.

Joseph Robert Meili was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to third-degree child molestation as part of a plea deal reached earlier this year, The Huffington Post reports.

He initially also faced charges of child kidnapping and first-degree statutory rape.

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The sentence stems from a July 2017 incident in which police said Meili picked up the young girl, whose identity has not been released, in Republic, Mo., after meeting her through a dating app, according to the publication.

At the time, Meili reportedly took the girl to his home, where the girl later told police she fell asleep but woke up feeling like something sexual had happened, according to The Jefferson City News Tribune.

She reportedly returned home several hours later, but had already been reported missing by her family. She later tested posted for chlamydia, the Tribune reported.

Elizabeth Fax, a senior assistant prosecuting attorney for Greene County, told The Huffington Post that the girl told authorities several weeks after the incident that she and Meili had sexual intercourse.

Meili told investigators he agreed to meet the girl because he believed she was 18 years old based on her profile on the dating app, according to media reports.

Scott Pierson, an attorney representing Meili, told The Huffington Post that his client “felt horrible about the entire incident” and added: “He’s going to be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life ... It’s a tough case. Neither side is really going to get justice here.”

However, Fax told the news outlet that she believes Meili knew the girl was underage.

“I think dating apps make it easier to get into these types of situations, to be sure, but to actually see her in person ... He knew and just decided to go along with it anyway,” she said.