- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A man accused of trying to solicit sex from what he thought was a teenage girl while he was serving as a pastor in Miller has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Terms of the deal between the government and Joseph Raleigh are not yet public, the Capital Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1Y2BFYW ). Raleigh is still negotiating a deal on state charges related to the same incident.

“Additional time is needed to complete plea negotiations in that matter so that both state and federal charges are resolved,” federal public defender Neil Fulton said in court documents.

Raleigh was 34 when he was arrested last October in Blunt in a law enforcement online sting operation. He resigned from the Miller church within days of his arrest.

Raleigh is charged federally with commercial sex trafficking of children, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and the possibility of a life term. He’s charged in state court with felony solicitation of a minor and a misdemeanor count of trying to hire someone for sex. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Raleigh and his attorney are asking for a postponement of his federal trial, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday. Raleigh is currently at a halfway house in Sioux Falls while his court cases progress.

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Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, https://www.capjournal.com

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