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Youth baseball coach sentenced for soliciting minor

Christopher Merchant Photo Credit: Rhode Island State Police

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Connecticut youth baseball coach who arranged to meet with a supposed 14-year-old boy to engage in illicit sexual activity has been sentenced to five years in prison.

34 year-old Christopher Merchant of Woodstock, Connecticut, was sentenced Friday in Providence federal court.

Merchant was arrested in January at a Warwick, Rhode Island hotel where authorities said he had arranged to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old boy. In fact, the person he had been corresponding with was an officer with a task force dedicated to fighting internet crimes against children.

At the time, Merchant was found to have child pornography on his phone.

Merchant pleaded guilty in March to interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and transporting child pornography.

Prosecutors say Merchant was a Connecticut baseball league vice president and coach.

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