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Former Writer Sentenced For Date Rapes

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File photo of a jail cell. (credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a jail cell. (credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — A former freelance writer for a Reno newspaper has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the brutal date rapes of two women he met online.

Washoe County District Judge Patrick Flanagan imposed the sentence on Daniel Riggs Wednesday night after an eight-hour hearing. He will be eligible for parole after 16 years.

The Reno News & Review published more than 60 of Riggs’ stories, many of which dealt with the city’s music scene. A graduate of Reno High School, he attended some journalism classes at the University of Nevada, Reno, but never obtained a degree.

Riggs, 26, sexually assaulted one woman in her Reno hotel room in 2009 after placing his hands around her neck and choking her, prosecutors said.

The victim, who met him through social media, testified she told him “no” more than 50 times but he ignored her pleas. She had visited Reno to attend a bachelorette party and drank with Riggs at a downtown casino bar before going to the hotel room.

Prosecutors said Riggs sexually assaulted the other woman in her home in 2013 after she refused his request to have sex and he choked her. The two met on the online dating site Plenty of Fish, and the rape occurred while the victim’s child was sleeping in another room, prosecutors said.

The victim had invited Riggs to see a movie with her but said she began to fear him after he discussed the case of James Biela, a Reno construction worker who was convicted of raping and murdering 19-year-old Brianna Denison and sexually assaulting two other college coeds near the University of Nevada, Reno, campus in 2010.

A blogger and author, Riggs developed a significant online persona, which made him seem like a safe person for his victims to meet, said Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Druckman.

Riggs pleaded no contest to two counts of attempted sexual assault as part of a plea agreement, Druckman said.

At Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, both victims expressed the emotional devastation Riggs caused in their lives and asked the judge to impose the maximum penalty, which he did.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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