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ND man sentenced to 3 years for sexting with 17-year-old who later became his wife

Thomas Drumgold II

MINOT, N.D.—A 36-year-old Minot man was sentenced to three years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender for sexting last year with the 17-year-old girl who became his wife a few months later.

Thomas Hannibal Drumgold II, who is already serving a five year prison sentence for drug dealing, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in district court in Minot to promoting obscenity to a minor and possession of child pornography, both Class C felonies. The state agreed to drop a third charge of corruption of a minor against Drumgold.

Drumgold actually won't serve any additional time in prison as the new sentence will run concurrently with his current sentence.

"Obviously we're sitting here because I made some mistakes," Drumgold told Judge Todd Cresap.

He said he recognizes that, as an adult, he should not have engaged in sexual conduct with a 17-year-old.

"I love my wife," Drumgold told Cresap. "I wouldn't change the fact that I love my wife. Going through a trial wouldn't have been the best thing for her."

The only thing he would change is the timing of the relationship. Drumgold said he should have waited a few months. His wife was only a few months from her 18th birthday at the time of the relationship.

Drumgold's defense attorney, Raissa Carpenter, asked for leniency for Drumgold. She said people mature at different rates and the maturity level of one 17-year-old might vary from another, just as one 35-year-old might differ from another man the same age. The young woman in question wrote a letter to the court calling herself the "supposed victim" and stating that she wants the charges dropped. The woman, who married Drumgold last year when she turned 18, said the publicity around the case has created difficulty for her around her job. Being without her husband has also been difficult. Carpenter said the nature of these charges have affected Drumgold's ability to visit with his children from another relationship at the prison.

Drumgold's wife was present in the courtroom on Wednesday.

Cresap said he was conflicted about the circumstances of the case and could see both sides. The young woman's mother had a right to object to her daughter's relationship with a 35-year-old man, particularly one who was already a convicted felon, said Cresap. However, Cresap said he also wanted to take the wishes of Drumgold's wife into account.

While the state had asked for a five year flat time sentence, Cresap lowered the sentence to three years. Drumgold will also have to register as a sex offender, for at least 15 years and possibly for life. Cresap said it isn't up to him how long Drumgold will be required to register.

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