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East Grand Forks water plant operator charged with stalking girl over Facebook

Sterling Bottomley

GRAND FORKS - East Grand Forks' water plant operator has been charged in Polk County District Court with stalking a teenage girl over Facebook, court documents show.

Sterling Bottomley, 53, sent multiple suggestive Facebook messages to a 16-year-old girl in East Grand Forks in late May and early June, according to a criminal complaint filed in district court Monday.

The alleged offense is classified as aggravated stalking of a victim younger than 18 with sexual or aggressive intent. It is punishable by 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

The girl's family has obtained a harassment restraining order against Bottomley, the criminal complaint says.

Bottomley faces an additional charge of stalking a minor when the perpetrator is at least 36 months older than the victim. It carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Sterling appeared in Polk County District Court on Tuesday and was subsequently released until his next appearance on Aug. 1.

A message seeking Bottomley's comment was left at the water treatment plant today. He does not have a listed home phone number.