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Man sentenced for molestation, maintains innocence

FARGO - A 39-year-old man convicted of molesting an 8-year-old girl in a car outside a Fargo video store three years ago maintained his innocence at sentencing Monday, telling the judge, "I am no monster."

Judge Douglas Herman sentenced Dominic Roberto Jones in Cass County District Court to 10 years in prison, with all but two years suspended and 243 days of credit for time served. Jones also must serve five years of supervised probation and register as a sex offender.

His attorney, Ted Sandberg, said Jones still denies committing the crime, but "he also understands that there were facts the court was able to rely upon to find him guilty." Herman convicted Jones after a bench trial May 8.

In a letter to the court, Jones wrote, "I'm sorry for the victim and I hope that she's doing OK," but he also insisted that he is innocent and not a violent person. He told police he was rubbing the girl's back and trying to console her, court records show.

"I am no monster. I don't get sexual pleasure in touching or fondling kids," Sandberg said, reading aloud from the letter.

An eyewitness told police he saw Jones touching the girl over her clothing for three to four minutes.