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Redby man gets jail time stayed in sex crime

BEMIDJI—A Redby man who arranged to meet and have sex with an undercover officer he thought was a child will not spend any more time in jail.

Gary Lee Cobenais, 43, received a stay of imposition Monday during sentencing. He spent 68 days in the Beltrami County Jail following his April arrest. Because of the stay, he will not have to return to the jail.

Cobenais was initially charged with one count of soliciting a child or someone believed to be a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct on Feb. 21. The charge was later changed to one count of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child.

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. Cobenais replied "ur 15 yrs old," and the investigator replied "ya."

The pair arranged to meet in bemidji, where Cobenais encountered police, rather than a child.

Grace Pastoor

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

(218) 333-9796