Former Cortez Journal sports editor Bobby Abplanalp, who was facing charges of human trafficking in the state of North Dakota, will now be prosecuted in federal court.
According to Burleigh County attorney Pamela Nesvig, the case was moved to federal court at the behest of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“We don’t want to prosecute the same person for the same offense in two different jurisdictions,” Nesvig told the Dickinson Press of the state’s decision to drop the case.
With the state charges dropped, Abplanalp is now charged with one count of coercion and enticement. The charge carries a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The charges against Abplanalp stem from an incident in June in which he is alleged to have contacted a woman believed to be trafficking her underage daughters for money and agreed to pay $200 to spend 45-minutes with a 17-year-old girl.
Abplanalp was employed as sports editor for the Cortez Journal from July 2010 until May 2013.
A two-day jury trial for Abplanalp is scheduled for Nov. 19.