DECATUR — A 52-year-old man who believed he was meeting a 13-year-old Decatur boy for sex in a hotel room appeared before a judge Thursday to be sentenced as a sex offender.

Lonnie L. Nichols pleaded guilty to traveling to meet a minor for the purpose of engaging in sex. In a plea agreement negotiated by his attorney, Deborah Riley, Nichols was sentenced to 30 months' probation, ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years, report for sex offender evaluation and treatment and pay a $500 fine, plus other court costs.

Judge Jeffrey Geisler stipulated that Nichols must pay a further $500 fine to support the work of the Decatur Police Crimes Against Children Investigation Fund, which helps pay for the law enforcement work that caught him.

Outlining the case, Assistant State’s Attorney Kate Kurtz said that in the spring of 2016 Nichols believed he was talking to the adult boyfriend of a Decatur woman on the Internet. This man, who was in fact an undercover detective, had posted an ad aimed at people “seeking a relationship with someone under the age of 17.”

Kurtz said the character played by the detective was offering to “pimp out” the 13-year-old son of the woman he was dating. Kurtz said the conversation got down to specifying certain sex acts to be performed for a $150 fee, and Nichols arranged to rendezvous with the fictitious boy on the evening of May 25 at a Decatur hotel.

“He walked into the lobby and was arrested,” Kurtz told the court.

Geisler passed sentence after reading a confidential report on Nichols and, at his attorney’s request, allowed a written stipulation in the sentencing that said Nichols would be permitted to live with his minor children.

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Staff Writer

Courts and public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.