Local sex offender loses bid to have enticement conviction dumped

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho man has lost an appeal of his 2010 Internet enticement conviction after judges decided there was enough evidence for a jury to convict him even if he never sought to meet his alleged victim to engage in illegal sexual conduct.

In 2009, Bruce E. Reed, of Boise, was snared in an Internet sting while communicating with someone he thought was a 15-year-old girl but was really a middle-aged detective. The then-26-year-old was found guilty two years ago of enticing a minor over the Internet and sentenced to at least two years in prison.

He challenged the jury's guilty verdict to the Idaho Court of Appeals, arguing the evidence that put him behind bars was insufficient and that his sentence was excessive.

But the judges ruled unanimously there was plenty of evidence to find Reed guilty and also concluded his sentence was appropriate.

"Reed's argument is not supported by the plain language," Judge Karen Lansing wrote in her six-page decision, concluding a conviction for enticement required no acts other than use of an Internet connection to solicit, seduce, lure, persuade or entice another person who is, or is believed to be, a minor under age 16 for a sexual act.

Reed's attorneys argued that a conviction required Reed to have done "something more than just chatting online with a person in a sexual manner."

Central to their argument was a 2012 amendment to the Internet enticement statute.

Passed by the Idaho Legislature two years after Reed had been convicted, it sought to underscore that a conviction under the Internet enticement statute didn't require an adult to have committed an illegal sexual act with the minor.

Reed argued that before the change, he would have had to have committed one of the illegal sexual acts in conjunction with his Internet communication in order to be convicted under the enticement statute.

The judges disagreed, however, arguing the Legislature wasn't trying to completely recast the meaning of the enticement law with the amendment, rather simply to clarify and strengthen it.

"It is apparent that a legislative clarification is what was intended by the 2012 amendment," Lansing wrote. "It clarifies the statute so that there can be no mistake that the prosecution is not required to prove that a sexual act actually occurred."

At the time Reed was convicted, he was on probation following prior convictions for disturbing the peace, kidnapping and numerous motor vehicle violations. While awaiting court proceedings for the enticement offense, law enforcement agents also found him in possession of a weapon - a sharpened spoon.

Reed is currently out of prison on parole and living in Boise, where he's a registered sex offender, according to Idaho law enforcement websites.