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Redby man pleads guilty to sex crime

BEMIDJI -- A Redby man accused of arranging to meet and have sex with a person he thought was a child pleaded guilty to a felony Tuesday.

Gary Lee Cobenais, 43, initially pleaded not guilty in May to one count of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child. Cobenais changed his plea Tuesday and admitted to the crime.

Cobenais was charged with a different felony related to his response to the ad in February; the charge was later amended.

According to a criminal complaint, Cobenais was caught in December after responding to an advertisement posted on social media by a law enforcement official posing as a young girl looking for sex.

The investigator told Cobenais via text message that she was 15, the complaint said. Cobenais allegedly replied “ur 15 yrs old,” and the investigator replied “ya.”

The pair allegedly arranged to meet in Bemidji, where Cobenais encountered law enforcement, rather than a child. He is scheduled to appear in court July 24 for sentencing.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or gpastoor@bemidjipioneer.com

(218) 333-9796
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