- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A former financial aid director has pleaded guilty to charges related to offering students college foundation money in exchange for sex.

Joseph Bekken, 37, pleaded guilty Thursday, saying in court that he misused public money and used a computer in a scheme to defraud. The plea agreement dropped three felonies, including attempting to procure a prostitute, the Spokesman-Review reported (https://bit.ly/1UXtPwG).

Bekken will be sentenced Oct. 19. He faces up to 7 1/2 years in prison and a fine as high as $52,500. His attorney was unavailable for comment.

“I’m satisfied because we have the freedom to recommend at sentencing what we think is appropriate, whether that’s a prison term or something less than that,” said Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh.

Police created a fake Craigslist account under the name Sheryl Roberts and responded to an ad Bekken posted, setting up a Feb. 2 meeting.

Bekken took $587 from the Idaho College Foundation with the intent to pay the fake student for sex, but met police officers instead. Police arrested Bekken and the college fired him the same day.

A school spokesman said administrators had no comment on the plea agreement.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com

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