Hart man arrested in child sex crime sting operation.

December 13, 2021


Hart man arrested in child sex crime sting operation.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A 65-year-old Hart man went to a local hotel last summer after making arrangements with whom he believed to be a 15-year-old girl to engage in oral sex with her. But when he entered the hotel room, he was arrested by police in a sting operation.

Lewis Ernest Stone, who is lodged in the Oceana County Jail, pleaded “no contest” to a felony of accosting a child for immoral purposes in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Dec. 13. Stone appeared in court from the jail via Zoom video conferencing due to COVID-19 precautions.

The incident occurred Aug. 25, 2021 at the Dunes Express Inn in Hart Township where Genesee County and Oceana County sheriff’s offices were running a joint sting operation, said Judge Robert D. Springstead. “An officer was posing as an underage individual on a dating site. Mr. Stone expressed he was interested in performing oral sex on the female when she was contacted by him. The officer indicated that she was 15 years old. 

“The defendant originally said that’s too young and then later reconsidered. There was a price negotiated. He went into the room and then was caught by the police.”

In exchange for Stone’s plea, a felony charge of using a computer to commit a crime and a fourth-offense habitual offender designation will be dismissed. Accosting a child for immoral purposes has a maximum possible penalty of four years, and using a computer to commit a crime is punishable by up to 10 years.

Sentencing guidelines in the case are two to 17 months, and Stone faces up to one year in jail, said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. His sentence will also include probation, said Judge Springstead.

Stone responded to an ad on Craigslist, said Bizon, and the negotiated amount was $50.

Stone’s prior criminal history includes six retail fraud convictions and two drug delivery convictions, said Bizon. “The dismissed charges would not have increased his guidelines. The prior felonies have no relation to this conduct and would not have increased his sentence,” said Bizon for further clarification. The new sentencing laws, coupled with the age of his priors, are factors. His most recent conviction was in 2006.

Stone’s attorney Timothy Hayes said his client entered a “no contest” plea due potential civil liability.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 7 at 9:30 a.m.

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