Former WPTV NewsChannel 5 meteorologist Rob Lopicola sentenced to 56 months in prison

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A Palm Beach County judge has sentenced former WPTV NewsChannel 5 meteorologist Rob Lopicola to 56 months in prison.

He faced up to 20 years in prison after a jury convicted him on lewd and lascivious conduct and computer pornography charges.

After being given credit for time served, Lopicola will remain in prison for an additional three years.

"I'm glad there is some vindication for the victim in this case, in both cases. I'm pleased with the result," said prosecuting attorney Mike Kugler.

In October, Lopicola testified during his trial that he had met a teenager through an advertisement on Craigslist but that he wouldn't have pursued a relationship if he had known the teenager was 15-years-old.

His victim told Lopicola, "You need help and you need to want help. I'm not sure our system can provide it, but I hope you can seek it and make the best of it."

Lopicola said he never met the teenager in person, but the jury felt crude text messages exchanged between them were enough to convict him.

During the sentencing hearing on Friday, Lopicola apologized to the teenager and asked for forgiveness.

"How do I apologize? How do I apologize? How do I right what I've done wrong? How do I repair the damage?" said Lopicola.

Earlier, a psychologist told Judge Barry Cohen that treatment was more important for Lopicola than incarceration. 

Lopicola pleaded guilty in a separate case against him, involving one charge of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. His sentence in that case will run concurrent with this one.

When Lopicola is released, he will be a registered sex offender. 

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