Probation for man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 11-year-old girl


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A man who pleaded guilty to molesting an 11-year-old girl and giving her a sexually-transmitted disease was given just five years of probation.

Joseph Meili, 22, of Russellville (Mo.) reached a plea deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to one count of third-degree child molestation, while charges of child kidnapping and statutory rape were dismissed.

Meili's conviction could go off his record if he successfully completes probation, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

After meeting online through a dating app on the girl's mother's phone, Meili picked her up in 2017 and drove her to an apartment where he sexually assaulted her.

A police search was underway when the girl was being assaulted. She said she had fallen asleep at the apartment, but felt that something "sexual had happened."

Later, the girl tested positive for chlamydia.

Following his arrest, Meili said he met up with the girl but that her age showed up as 18 on the dating app.