FARGO-Anjelo S. Shepherd has had his name in the paper for a lot of reasons; like when winning state wrestling championships for West Fargo High School and following in his father's footsteps to be a standout rodeo rider.
But when his name appeared last year in a story about men being arrested on suspicion of patronizing a minor for commercial sex, it devastated his life.
"He's very embarrassed and ashamed," Shepherd's mother, Stacey Christensen, told Judge Douglas Herman during her son's sentencing hearing Monday morning, April 17, in Cass County District Court.
"He definitely is very sorry for what he did," added Christensen, who urged Herman to give her son a sentence that would allow him to salvage something from his life by allowing him to remain employed and follow mental health treatments, for his anxiety and depression.
Prosecutor Leah Viste recommended a sentence of 180 days in jail, which she said was in line with what other men received for their convictions in Cass County District Court in connection with a sex sting called Guardian Angel conducted in the Fargo-Moorhead area last summer.
Shepherd's attorney, Nick Thornton, asked for a sentence that would minimize jail time and allow Shepherd to put his life back together.
Herman said he was open to that idea, stating that Shepherd's case was very different from those of others arrested in the sting, many of whom were in their 40s and clearly had been looking for underage women.
Herman said Shepherd, who was 20 at the time of his arrest, was expecting someone who was 18 when he responded to an advertisement. Instead, he ended up still trying to set up a meeting after being informed the female would be underage.
Guardian Angel involved law enforcement agents placing ads online in which someone purporting to be a young female was seeking contact with males for money. However, the "young female" was actually a female law enforcement agent.
Herman sentenced Shepherd to three days already served and placed him on supervised probation for two years.
"This is not the more classic predatory case," Herman said, adding Shepherd will still have to register as a sex offender for 15 years at minimum. "He's going to have to live and deal with that."
Christensen said her son wants the community to trust him again.
"He's a very good person who made a wrong decision," she said.