Man sentenced to probation for molesting runaway

Man sentenced to probation for molesting runaway

URBANA — A Champaign man convicted of sexually molesting a teenage runaway has been sentenced to two years of probation.

Joseph Brownfield, 28, of the 500 block of Edgebrook Drive, pleaded guilty in early March to a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for a sex act he committed with the girl in his home some time between Jan. 4 and 6.

Judge Tom Difanis confirmed the plea Monday after reviewing Brownfield's sex offender evaluation.

Brownfield was charged Feb. 20 with aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, all of which were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.

Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar said the girl, 16 at the time, ran away from her foster home and called Brownfield, whom she had known for several years, to pick her up.

He took her back to his home, where she stayed a few days before leaving and going to the home of another man, Lozar said.

Brownfield admitted that he had sex with the girl but said he thought she was at least 17. He also maintained that she agreed to have sex with him.

The teen did not report the alleged sexual abuse by Brownfield to police until Jan. 9, when she was picked up for being a runaway.

Lozar said he agreed to the guilty plea to the reduced charge because of the difficulty in convicting Brownfield of all the counts beyond a reasonable doubt. He said there were other witnesses who reported that the victim claimed to be older than she was.

Brownfield was also sentenced to 12 days in the county jail but given credit for time served and ordered to have no contact with the girl.

Lozar said Brownfield had no prior criminal convictions.

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