Man sentenced for sending lewd texts to minor

A Mishawaka man has pleaded guilty to distributing obscene matter and harassment for sending a teen girl pictures of his genitals.

Cody M. Elston, 20, appeared in court July 18 to plead guilty to two misdemeanors. A felony charge of dissemination of matter harmful to minors was dismissed as part of the plea deal.

The victim told a sheriff’s deputy last summer that she was receiving obscene pictures in text messages from a man she did not know.

She told the officer she had been getting texts from that number for two months. When she posted on social media, asking friends who the number belonged to, someone told her it belonged to Elston.

She said she knew of Elston because they used to attend the same school, but she had never been in a relationship with or spoken with him before. She said he might have gotten her number from her Facebook page.

He was sentenced to 365 days, 90 days executed and the remainder suspended, for the Class A misdemeanor, and 180 days, with 90 days executed and the remainder suspended, for the Class B misdemeanor. Both sentences will be served at the same time, not back-to-back. His executed time may be served on home detention in St. Joseph County if he is accepted into that program, according to online court documents.

He will also have to serve 275 days of probation, perform 40 hours of community service, undergo a mental health evaluation and have no contact with the victim.

The state had no objection to Elston’s request to have his cellphone returned to him.