Cortland man accused of sending nude photos to child enters guilty plea

CORTLAND, N.Y. – A Cortland man could spend up to 4 years in prison for failing to register a Facebook account with New York State.

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Daniel M. Gerhart, 34, pleaded guilty Thursday in Cortland County Court to failure to register as a sex offender, a class E felony. Under the terms of the plea deal, he faces between 1 1/3 - 4 years in prison.

On April 7, Gerhart used a Facebook account in a different name and failed to register that account with New York State, which is required for sex offenders. Gerhart then exchanged explicit photos with an 11-year-old girl in Pennsylvania, according to court documents.

He had previously faced charges of possessing a sexual performance by a child, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

Gerhart was convicted in 2009 of possessing a sexual performance by a child. He was then required to register as a Level 2 sex offender.

Prosecutors had sought to charge Gerhart as a second felony offender, but Judge Julie Campbell ruled that because Gerhart's 2009 conviction was under corrections law and not penal law, he could not be charged as a second felony offender.

"He is getting a good deal here," Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben said in court Thursday. "Hopefully he'll learn to abide by the rules that govern sex offenders."

He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 7.

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