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6
Mar
2012
Man posed as psychologist to deceive women

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A mother was sentenced to a decade of probation in a plea deal reached after she was accused of molesting her 8-year-old autistic son and streaming video of the act online to a Michigan car salesman who posed as a psychologist.

The case is one of at least seven across the nation that led to a life sentence last year for Steven Demink.

A federal prosecutor called him "the puppet master" for his ability to persuade women that the sexual assaults would be therapeutic or educational for their children.

In the Oregon case, prosecutors said Demink persuaded the 49-year-old woman that the behavior would be a way to teach the child about sex.

To protect the child's identity, The Associated Press and The Bulletin newspaper of Bend have withheld the name of the woman.

The Bulletin reported the Bend woman was indicted last year on charges of sodomy, sexual abuse and using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct. She later made an agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty last week to attempting to use a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct, the paper reported Tuesday.

Along with probation, she must complete a sex offender program, cannot have unsupervised contact with minors, including the victim, and can't use the Internet without consent from a judge or probation officer.

Violating the terms could lead to a prison term of nearly 11 years, according to the Deschutes County district attorney's office.

Demink met the women through an online dating site, where he created the character of Dalton St. Clair, a psychologist with a young daughter he claimed was a nudist with him, according to federal court records.

Demink targeted single mothers, promised dates to some, and posted pictures of male models for his online identity.