LINCOLN — A longtime foster parent in Norfolk, Nebraska, has been ordered to stand trial for soliciting sex from a foster child he adopted.

The 59-year-old man is accused of offering $100 and other favors in exchange for being allowed to sexually fondle a boy, then 17, he had adopted after serving as the boy's foster parent.

The man — whose name is not being published to protect the identity of the teen — has pleaded not guilty to soliciting prostitution from a person under age 18. If convicted on the felony charge, he could face up to two years in prison and 12 months post-release supervision, or a $10,000 fine, or all.

A trial has been scheduled for March 8 in Madison County District Court.

According to court records, the Norfolk man has been a foster parent to at least 13 boys since the 1990s. A court document from 2008 indicated that he was employed by Boys and Girls Home of Nebraska.

Madison County Attorney Joe Smith said the case points to a need for more vigorous review of people who are allowed to foster children.

The teen was placed under temporary custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services after telling police that he had been assaulted in April 2015. Now 18, he lives independently, Smith said.

Ron Temple, a Norfolk attorney defending the accused man, did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Russ Reno, a spokesman for Health and Human Services, confirmed that the man's home was licensed by the state for foster care. He said that when the department hears of a serious criminal charge, it will put a hold on placements at such locations pending the resolution of the allegations.

Reno said prospective foster parents are put through a "battery" of background checks, including checks of criminal history and sex-offender registries.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9584, paul.hammel@owh.com

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