ST. CLOUD -- A Brooten man has been sentenced for soliciting an under-18-year-old girl to practice prostitution. A judge sentenced 25-year-old Christopher Barkley Jr. to just under six-and-a-half years in prison. He'll get credit for 225 days he already has served in the county jail.

Investigators began looking into a possible sex trafficking case in January 2017 after receiving Facebook messages between Barkley and a then-17-year-old girl. Police say the messages were from October 2016 and detailed how Barkley was recruiting the girl to engage in prostitution.

Court records show officers then interviewed Barkley while investigating another case where Barkley was allegedly trying to traffic a different woman. According to the criminal complaint, Barkley admitted to sending the messages to the girl but claimed they were just "talk" and nothing came of it.

As part of Barkley's guilty plea in November, a charge of sex trafficking was dismissed.

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