Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Moose Lake man facing child solicitation charges


Cecil Denney

A Moose Lake man is in Pine County Jail facing two felony charges after sending sexual solicitations to his stepdaughter's 14-year-old friend via text messages and in person.

According to the Pine County Sheriff's Office report, on July 2, the mother of the girl contacted the Pine County Sheriff's Office reporting that 41-year-old Cecil Harding Denney made inappropriate comments/sexual solicitations to her daughter during a May sleepover.

Denney began texting the child during the evening acknowledging he had "a thing for her," the report states. The texts became more and more graphic with Denney admitting he could get in trouble. The child told Denney no, but he continued to request she go into his room.

The texts initially reported by the girl's mother were confirmed by screenshots obtained, which revealed the texts were dated the evening of May 28.

The girl reported Denney approached her in person the following day saying the same things.

Officers went to the home of Denney July 7 with a search warrant for his phone. The officers met Denney and told him why they were there and that he was not under arrest. Denney agreed to speak with the officers.

Denney told the officers he was aroused by what the girl had worn to his house and that he probably should not have done what he did. He also stated things got out of hand and he probably said some inappropriate things to her. Denney ultimately admitted to sending messages to the girl via Facebook messenger using his smart phone, the report states.

The officers asked Denney about specific texts, questioning if he would have done the things stated. "I don't know, I don't know how far it would have gone," the report states he responded.

Denney's phone was seized, and he was arrested. He faces two felony counts of solicit child or believe to be a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct, each count has a maximum sentence of three years and one day and/or a $5,000 fine.

Denney has a 2011 conviction of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony. According to public records, for that crime he served 180 days in jail and was sentenced to 10 years probation, however, a probation violation exposes Denney to 48 months in prison.


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