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Nebraska man makes plea deal in molestation case

 


SIDNEY (AP) — Prosecutors have made a deal with a Nebraska Panhandle man who accused a woman of extorting him over the molestation of her daughter.

Jason Frei, 55, of Potter, pleaded no contest Wednesday to negligent child abuse and attempted witness tampering, according to online court records. Prosecutors lowered the original charge he faced, sexually assaulting a child, in exchange for Frei's pleas. He's scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 11.

Authorities say Frei groped the girl while giving her mother a massage at his home in August. The Associated Press isn't identifying the mother in order to protect the girl's privacy.

Court documents say the woman reported the Aug. 15 incident to the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Office the next day. The deputy who handled the case said the woman reported exchanging text messages with Frei about the incident. When she let the deputy look at her text messages, the deputy noticed one from Frei that said, "I don't have that kind of money."

In affidavits, investigators said they obtained complete text records from Frei's and the woman's cellphone companies. Those texts showed an exchange that included his admission that he touched the girl and the woman's statement that she wanted money so she could get her daughter help.

In another message, according to the records, Frei promised the woman she'd get her money. Her response: "I only want cash and your messages and mine will be deleted."

Frei later told the investigator that the woman was extorting $20,000 from him and that he'd already paid $10,000.

She's been charged with theft by extortion. Her next court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14.

 

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