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River Falls man will stand trial for alleged Internet solicitation

An Aug. 27 trial date has been set for a 45-year-old River Falls man accused of soliciting sex from an online acquaintance that he believed was a 14-year-old girl.

According to Florida authorities, the girl that Brian D. Hanson thought he was communicating with through an Internet chat room was actually investigators with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department.

Hanson was charged last October with a felony count of computer solicitation of a minor for sexual activity. Three other felony counts of solicitation were dismissed.

Sarasota County Circuit Judge Deno G. Economou scheduled the Aug. 27 trial last month. Hanson has pleaded not guilty to the charge through his attorney.

Hanson's plans to move into a house in Hudson built by St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity have been put on hold because of the criminal charge against him.

The Habitat for Humanity affiliate's board of directors decided in late December to hold in abeyance Hanson's occupancy of the residence at 87 Amherst Circle until the case is decided.

Peter Stacy, a spokesman for the Habitat for Humanity affiliate, said last December that Hanson's alleged criminal activity didn't come to light until after he had been selected to purchase the house built by the affiliate.

Hanson is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. The house was built specially to accommodate his disability.

According to a Sarasota County probable cause affidavit, Hanson first contacted a detective using the nickname of lori14 in an Internet chat room on Sept. 29, 2005, about seven months before St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity started construction of his house.

Hanson is alleged to have communicated with Sarasota County investigators posing as the 14-year-old girl over an 11-month period.

Hanson was originally scheduled to move into the house in Hudson in January.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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