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A Beatrice man was sentenced to probation on Thursday for having a relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

Marshal P. Oden, 24, was sentenced to serve five years on probation -- the maximum allowable term for probation in the case -- for attempted first-degree sexual assault of a minor.

The charge was reduced to include “attempted,” reducing it from a class 2 to a class 2A felony. A second charge of first-degree sexual assault of a minor was previously dismissed as part of a plea agreement in February.

District Court Judge Rick Schreiner said the case was a difficult one, and compared Oden’s case to a sentencing one day earlier in which sentenced Kenneth L. Brinton to 5-7 years prison for the same charge.

“This is a difficult case for me to decide what I’m going to do,” Schreiner said. “It’s a serious offense that can carry ramifications not only for you going forward, but for this young lady as well, who it seems to me might have been struggling to begin with.”

Schreiner said Oden’s age and the fact that he had a minimal criminal history were factors in his decision.

Lee Timan, Oden’s defense attorney, pointed out that Oden engaged in sexual activity with the victim after taking prescription pills at a party. While noting the offense is still a serious one, Timan argued that Oden was not in a relationship with the victim.

Oden was arrested last June after police contacted the victim while investigating a juvenile runaway report.

She told police she had contact with Oden at a home near 10th and Scott streets and later spent the night at his apartment.

The victim told police she had sex with Oden, who then dropped her off near the YMCA that morning because he had to go to work.

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