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updated 10/26/2011 5:40:46 PM ET 2011-10-26T21:40:46

A former United Nations weapons inspector convicted in an online sex sting has been sentenced to up to 5 1/2 years behind bars.

Fifty-year-old Scott Ritter exchanged explicit messages with a detective posing as a 15-year-old girl, then performed a sex act on himself in front of a webcam.

He testified in his own defense that he believed the person he met in a Yahoo chat room in 2009 was an adult acting out her own fantasy.

But a northeastern Pennsylvania jury convicted Ritter in April. On Wednesday, a Monroe County judge sentenced him to 18 months to 66 months in state prison.

Ritter was taken into custody immediately.

Ritter was one of the U.N.'s chief weapons inspectors in Iraq from 1991 to 1998.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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