A 25-year-old man has been sentenced to 10 years’ probation after he was arrested by Scottsdale Police Department in June for messaging an undercover detective posing as a 16-year-old girl to engage in a sexual act in his vehicle.
Steven Newberry was charged with luring of a minor for sexual exploitation and attempted sexual contact with a minor.
In a nearly empty court room, Newberry asked the court for forgiveness.
In front of Judge Adam D. Driggs, Newberry said it was a “severe lapse of judgement” and it “won’t happen again” while speaking on his own behalf.
According to court documents, Newberry pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse with sexual motivation.
During the sentencing, Newberry’s lawyer Vicki Lopez referenced a study stating that men are naturally attracted to girls between the ages of 14–17 years old, calling it “normative,” then later said, “it’s not like he was interested in children.”
According to court documents, Newberry is deemed “low-risk” to reoffend, while Driggs said the state is “justified” to keep an eye on him.
Lopez was able to negotiate her client is sentenced with probation as well as not placed on the sex offender registry as he will receive sex counseling. Lopez believes sex counseling will prevent her client from reoffending.
In the gallery, Newberry’s mother and grandmother appeared teary-eyed as it was an opportunity for Newberry to complete probation and have what would have been a felony classified as a misdemeanor.
Lopez said a felony on his record would have ruined his life as the state of Arizona makes it difficult for felons to lease apartments.
“He also lost a really good job,” Lopez said.
Newberry was previously a trucker and wishes to find similar work after the sentencing, according to his attorney.
The initial conversations between Newberry and the undercover detective took place June 14. Throughout the conversation, their age of 16 was revealed multiple times. Newberry then requested to see the girl when he finished work.
The decoy expressed her interest in having sex for money.
“I don’t pay for that,” Newberry said.
He requested sex from the minor “without paying” and then said they can do it “in my backseat” as he had “done it before.”
Newberry acknowledged that participating in sexual acts with a 16-year-old would “fuck” his life then asked where to meet.
Upon arrival, he was arrested and booked. After being in custody, he was released on a $50,000 bond.
“Now the ball is in his court; he has to do well,” Lopez said.