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Albany man pleads guilty to sex offense in federal court

ALBANY, Ga. — Sean T. Petroff faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a possible life term in prison after pleading guilty to sex offenses Thursday, a U.S. Department of Justice report stated.

Petroff, 40, of 422 Hardaway Drive, pleaded guilty to using the Internet to coerce and entice a minor named “Mary” to engage in sexual activity, the report said.

“The minor was in fact an undercover officer from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office,” U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore said. “Petroff believed he was communicating with a 14-year-old girl who lived near him.”

Petroff has been in custody since March 2010 on related state charges. The plea hearing was held before U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands in Albany.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 26. At that time, Petroff also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of at least five years up to a life under supervision.

Indicating that Petroff knew what he was doing was wrong, the report stated, “On the 13th of August, 2010, Petroff wrote in a text message sent to ‘Mary’ that if he got caught he could go to jail or prison.”

The case was investigated by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Dougherty County Police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. U. S. Attorney Jim Crane prosecuted the case.