RAPID CITY, S.D. — A man who toyed with agents by posing as a pimp during a sex sting operation at the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Authorities say Timithy Fielding, 52, knew he was communicating with law enforcement officers when he responded to ads offering girls for sex and had no intention of participating in illegal activity.
“What he did was very serious,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Collins said during the sentencing hearing in Rapid City. “He took (agents) away for almost an entire evening with his games.”
Fielding pleaded guilty to making a false statement. Both the judge and the prosecutor described the deal as unusual, since most of the people caught in the annual operation have been convicted of sex-related crimes. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped charges of attempted commercial sex trafficking and attempted enticement of a minor using the internet, the Rapid City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2cZrbJq ).
Fielding told U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken he had learned his lesson from seeking that particular form of entertainment. The case “screwed up my life, destroyed everything,” he said. His friends and family members also testified in court. They described Fielding as a caring and hard-working man.
Viken said Fielding’s actions deserved serious consequences.
“The fact that you messed with the sting operation when it was trying to identify real predators is a problem,” the judge said.
The Sturgis undercover sex stings from 2013 to last year nabbed a total of 18 men, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Dakota. Fifteen of the defendants have either pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial of various federal charges, including commercial sex trafficking and attempted enticement of a minor using the internet. The 11 who have already been sentenced received prison time ranging from two to 15 years.
Another nine men were arrested in this year’s rally operation, the South Dakota attorney general’s office said.