A 36-year-old Minot, N.D., man was sentenced to three years in prison and will have to register as a sex offender for sexting with a 17-year-old girl who would become his wife a mere few months later.
According to the Minot Daily News, Thomas Hannibal Drumgold II is already serving a five-year prison sentence for drug dealing. Drumgold pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felonies: promoting obscenity to a minor and possession of child pornography.
Drumgold acknowledged that as an adult, he should not have engaged in sexual conduct with a 17-year-old.
“Obviously we’re sitting here because I made some mistakes,” Drumgold told Judge Todd Cresap. “I love my wife. I wouldn’t change the fact that I love my wife. Going through a trial wouldn’t have been the best thing for her.”
Drumgold said that the only thing he would have changed was the timing of the relationship, pointing out that his wife was only a few months shy of her 18th birthday at the time.
His wife wrote a letter to the court referring to herself as the “supposed victim,” and asking for the charges to be dropped. She added that the publicity around the case has made it difficult for her around her job, and added that being without her husband has also been difficult.
Drumgold’s defense attorney, Raissa Carpenter, had asked for leniency for her client, saying that people mature at different rates and that the nature of the charges has affected Drumgold’s ability to visit his children from a previous relationship at the prison.
Judge Cresap acknowledged that he was conflicted about the case and could see both sides, acknowledging that the then-17-year-old’s mother was right to object to her daughter’s relationship with a 35-year-old man, especially one who was already a convicted felon. However, Cresap said that he also wanted to take into consideration the wishes of Drumgold’s wife.
The compromise was to lower the sentence to three years, which will be served concurrently with the sentence that he is already serving for drug dealing. Drumgold will still have to register as a sex offender, however, for at least 15 years, and possibly for life.
Read more at the Minot Daily News.