Former cop pleads in sex crime sting

Tuesday, June 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa, Okla. (AP) -- A former policeman who admitted traveling to Tulsa to have sex with an Internet user he thought was a child is facing a possible 15-year prison term.

Police arrested Joseph Albert Ellsworth, 43, in July when he showed up at a park to meet the girl. The fictitious 14-year-oldwas an undercover Tulsa police officer.

The Golden, Colo., man pleaded guilty Monday to attempting lewd proposals to a child, attempted lewd molestation and a count involving an attempt to distribute or exhibit obscene material.

Sentencing on the state charges is set for Aug. 29.

He also faces sentencing in federal court for a guilty plea to traveling from Colorado to Oklahoma in order to have sex with the fictitious girl.

The state counts were linked to Internet communications prior to the River Parks arrest. At an August preliminary hearing, a judge ruled that transcripts of those communications were inadmissible as evidence after a defense lawyer argued that investigators could not demonstrate Ellsworth was at the keyboard.

But another judge reversed that decision on appeal and ruled that transcripts of the computer messages could be allowed as evidence and, when combined with other evidence, was sufficient to order a trial.

Ellsworth, a former Denver police officer, waived his right to a trial in May with the expectation he would accept a plea agreement.