Israeli lured 'minor' for sex

Special
Yosef Sagiv Ofri: Israeli consulate employee was ordered to leave the country after pleading guilty to exploitation charges.

An Israeli diplomat stationed at the Atlanta consulate was ordered Thursday to leave the country after pleading guilty to computer pornography and child exploitation charges.

Yosef Sagiv Ofri, 37, was indicted in August on 22 counts of computer pornography and child exploitation.

Between June and August, Mr. Ofri was accused of providing the "victim" with pornographic material and asked the "person he believed to be under the age of 16" to create and provide pornographic material of a minor, according to the indictment.

Assistant District Attorney Ashley Wright said a Columbia County resident independently established contact with Mr. Ofri online, posing as a 15-year-old girl.

"Once she had established communication with a person willing to engage in sexual relations with a minor, she contacted (authorities)," Ms. Wright said.

Mr. Ofri accepted a negotiated plea agreement with the District Attorney's Office, which included pleading guilty to 10 of the 22 counts.

Superior Court Judge Duncan D. Wheale sentenced Mr. Ofri to 10 years' confinement, but the time can be served on probation if Mr. Ofri returns to Israel within 30 days, pays a $5,000 fine, surrenders the computer used during the offenses and does not accept any employment within the U.S.

Mr. Ofri was represented at the sentencing hearing by local attorney Michael Garrett and Bruce Maloy, an attorney for the State of Israel.

Authorities say Mr. Ofri used e-mail and instant messages, along with pornographic photos and narratives, to lure a child to commit sodomy and child molestation.

Mr. Ofri was indicted Aug. 30 and arrested the next day by Columbia County authorities at his north Atlanta home. He was released from the Columbia County Detention Center less than a week later after posting a $50,000 bond, according to jail records.

Reach Valerie Rowell at 868-1222, ext. 110, or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.