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Man pleads guilty to trying to meet teen in Columbia for sex

A Texas man has pleaded guilty to sexually soliciting what he thought was a 13-year-old girl he was to meet in Howard County but was actually an undercover Maryland state trooper.

Jeffrey A. Kerber, 50, of McKinney, entered his guilty plea March 12 on one count of sexual solicitation of a minor. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 20 in Howard County Circuit Court in Ellicott City.

Kerber and the trooper exchanged sexually explicit messages online over the course of a week in August 2011, according to a statement of facts Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Ritter read in court. Kerber said he was going to be in Bel Air later in the month for business, and eventually they agreed to meet at a Starbucks coffee shop on Dobbin Road in Columbia before going to her house.

Kerber wrote several times of being worried about possibly going to jail, but arranged to meet at the coffee shop nevertheless, Ritter said.

On Aug. 30, Kerber sent a message from his flight to Maryland. The undercover trooper then obtained a copy of the passenger list for that flight. Kerber was the only person on the list whose first name matched that used in the message, and his driver's license photo matched those that had been sent online, Ritter said.

Police tracked Kerber from the airport to Bel Air, then to the Columbia coffee shop, where he was arrested.

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