Professor is guilty in online sex sting
A University of Hawaii electrical engineering professor admitted to communicating online with whom he believed was a 15-year-old girl and then showing up to meet her at a Pearl Kai fast-food restaurant last month.
Marc Fossorier, 43, pleaded guilty yesterday in Circuit Court to one count of first-degree electronic enticement of a child. He faces a mandatory minimum of one year in jail up to a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment when sentenced March 5.
Defense attorney Victor Bakke said it was in everyone's best interests that Fossorier plead guilty and accept responsibility. A pre-sentence report has been ordered, and Bakke said he hopes that after Circuit Judge Derrick Chan sees Fossorier's "immaculate career and character," he will see fit to sentence him to probation rather than prison.
The problem with the mandatory minimum is that it takes away the court's discretion in distinguishing between a predator and a benign defendant, Bakke said.
"This is not a pedophile-type case," Bakke said. "If you read the chats, they're pretty innocent chats -- there's no evidence he was a predator."
But he acknowledged that the eight-month period of chatting and showing up at the prearranged location met the elements of the offense. The online chats occurred between April and October. Authorities said the conversations became increasingly sexual in nature. Bakke disagrees, saying there was no indication of sex.
After his arrest, Fossorier told reporters that he was trying to help the girl and had tried to meet her to say what she was doing was wrong.
Fossorier was arrested Oct. 29 at the Pearl Kai McDonald's, where he arranged to meet the girl, who was actually a state investigator.