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Prosecutors in hockey sex tape case want court records sealed

MOORHEAD - Prosecutors in a case against a pair of junior hockey players accused of distributing a video of sex with a teenage girl they allegedly made are asking a judge to seal certain court filings.

MOORHEAD – Prosecutors in a case against a pair of junior hockey players accused of distributing a video of sex with a teenage girl they allegedly made are asking a judge to seal certain court filings.

In a motion filed Friday, prosecutors allege that defense attorneys for the two players are attempting to try the case in the court of public opinion, rather than in criminal court.

Thomas Ryan Carey, of Moorhead, and Brandon Nicholas Smith, of Castaic, Calif., each face felony charges of using a minor in a sexual performance and possession and dissemination of child pornography.

Court documents allege the pair took a video of sex with a 15-year-old Moorhead girl in a hotel room after a game against the Fargo Force last Valentine’s Day. Both men played for the Lincoln (Neb.) Stars.

They sent the cellphone video to their peers and hers, court records allege.

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In a motion filed in October, defense attorneys claimed the girl was the predator in the encounter and was attempting to have sex with a member of every team in the U.S. Hockey League.

Clay County prosecutor Pam Harris asked the judge in the case to seal any exhibits or affidavits filed by the defense prior to a contested hearing.

Harris wrote that many of the items filed by the defense were both objectionable and inadmissible. She said it appeared likely the defense was trying to get around a gag order issued by Judge Michael Fritz in October.

Fritz’s order said that comments to the media made from both sides in the case were likely to prejudice its eventual jury.

Harris’ motion cited a defense attorney’s comments in a local TV interview, saying they were made to the effect that the defense attorney was filing her motions in an effort to get the information in them out to the public.

It also says the defense attorney made similar statements in an email to the prosecution.

Before the gag order was issued, prosecutors sharply criticized the defense’s tactics – saying they amounted to a personal attack on the 15-year-old and claiming they could have a chilling effect on child pornography victims coming forward.

Charging documents in the case allege both men told Moorhead investigators the girl consented to a video of her having sex with Carey. Minnesota law states neither consent nor a mistake about a victim’s age are defenses against a charge of using a minor in a sexual performance.

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Using a minor in a sexual performance is the most serious of the three charges Carey and Smith face, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Minnesota sentencing guidelines, however, call for probation and a stayed prison term between two and four years for offenders with little or no criminal histories.

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