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Ten years for man who sought ‘fathers willing to share their daughters’ on Craigslist

BrandJ. Bergthold

Brandon J. Bergthold

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Updated: June 19, 2012 4:13PM

A Will County judge sentenced a southwest suburban man who sought “fathers willing to share their daughters” on Craigslist to 10 years in prison Tuesday.

Brandon J. Bergthold, 25, of the unincorporated Frankfort Square area, pleaded guilty to indecent solicitation of a child before Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak sentenced him. Prosecutors dropped another indecent solicitation charge he faced and two more counts of traveling to meet a minor in exchange for the plea.

Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Walsh said Bergthold will also avoid additional criminal charges based on an investigation that ended Jan. 26 after Bergthold pushed aggressively to meet at a motel in unincorporated New Lenox with a man he thought would offer up his 6-year-old daughter for sex.

That girl never existed, and the man who agreed to meet with Bergthold turned out to be an undercover officer working for the Cook County Sheriff’s Child Exploitation Unit.

Bergthold told police he’s addicted to child porn, prosecutors said at the time, and he thanked police for arresting him at the motel. Police promised to search his computer for child pornography, but he was never charged with having it.

Walsh said Bergthold must serve half of his 10-year sentence. He’ll also get credit for 146 days already spent in jail. But he’ll also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Cook County police said they discovered Bergthold’s Craigslist postings Nov. 30, and an officer answered his query pretending to be the father of a 6-year-old girl.

Police said the two-month investigation came to a head in January when Bergthold suddenly pushed for a meeting with the father and daughter. Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas said Bergthold’s demeanor changed, and officers worried he would seek out an unsuspecting victim.

They arranged for Bergthold to meet them in the 700 block of East Lincoln Highway. They also said he hoped to have sex with the non-existent 11-year-old female cousin of the undercover officer.

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