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HELENA - A federal appeals court has ordered a lower court to re-sentence a Great Falls man convicted of soliciting sex with minors on the Internet.

Mark A. Christensen argued that his 17½-year sentence was unduly harsh because the teenage girl he offered money to have sex with was actually an undercover FBI agent posing as a minor.

Christensen said that he could not have unduly influenced a minor because he never contacted a minor in the Internet chats in 2006.

While the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was considering his case, federal sentencing guidelines were changed to mirror Christensen's argument. The appeals court on Wednesday agreed with a federal government brief that said the changes should apply retroactively.

 

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