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Nelson pleads guilty to solicitation of minor

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

ROANOKE — A 38-year-old Hillsville man could end up serving life in prison after pleading guilty Monday in federal court to multiple charges of soliciting a minor online.

Dewey Edward Nelson was indicted by a federal grand jury on four counts, stemming from two periods in February and May.

Nelson was accused of crossing state lines to find a girl less than 18 years of age to bring her back to Hillsville and have sex with her, according to the indictments in U.S. District Court in Roanoke.

At his court appearance, Nelson pleaded guilty to two counts of traveling to Kansas with the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a 15-year-old girl and two counts of transporting that minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity, according to information from U.S. Department of Justice in Roanoke.

Nelson admitted in court to going from his apartment to Texas and to Kansas on those occasions to pick up a girl he had met online through Myspace.com, according to federal officials.

Authorities from Augusta, Kan., contacted the Hillsville Police Department for help in investigating the case, according to federal officials. When Hillsville police went to Nelson's apartment, the suspect told them the child who had been seen there was his daughter.

Nelson also created a false identification card to say the girl was older than 18, federal officials say.

Justice officials say that Nelson could face imprisonment of between 10 and 30 years on charges of engaging in illicit sexual conduct and life for the charges of taking the child across state lines.

Nelson may also have to pay a fine of up to $1 million and possibly forfeit a computer from his home said to have child pornography on it.

Nelson's sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 4 of next year.

FBI agents also participated in this investigation. Assistant Attorney Sharon Burnham prosecuted the case.

“This prosecution exemplifies the commitment the U.S. Attorney’s Office has placed on finding those individuals who exploit children and bringing them to justice,” U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said in a press release. “This office will not allow adults like Mr. Nelson to make victims of innocent children through online enticement.”