A western Kentucky man who traveled to Frankfort with hopes of meeting two minors for a sexual encounter faces three years in prison.
Michael Shane Stewart, 45, pleaded guilty Friday to several felonies. He was taken into custody in May after driving almost three hours from his home in Sacramento, Kentucky, to meet who he thought would be 15- and 17-year-old females. Stewart now faces a combined three years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 18 by Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.
Stewart could also be designated a sex offender for 20 years and be monitored for five years after his release.
According to court records, Stewart also brought drugs and paraphernalia, and he confessed to his intentions in Frankfort.
“When taken into custody, the defendant possessed quantities of marijuana, a metal grinder, rolling papers, hypodermic needles, plastic straw with residue, metal spoon and condoms that he had just purchased,” court records state. “Pursuant to mirandized and recorded interview, (Stewart) admitted to traveling to the Frankfort hotel with intent to engage in sexual acts" with the teens.
Stewart’s arrest took place as part of “Operation Shielded Child,” an undercover sexual predator sting operation. He and three other men – Jarrett Hoskins, 23, of Lexington; Ricky Cornish Jr., 32, of Frankfort; and Joseph Leavitt, 34, of Frankfort – were arrested in the two-day sting.
Leading up to the sting, Stewart had been in communication with investigators posing as the juveniles over a social media application known as “KIK.” Stewart first began communications in October and continued up until his May arrest, expressing a desire to engage in “very explicit sexual activities” and sending explicit pictures to what he thought were children. He then agreed to meet when he was taken into custody.
Stewart pleaded guilty to 11 counts of unlawful use of electronic communication to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities, a Class D felony; six counts of distribution of obscene material and one count of possession of marijuana, both Class B misdemeanors; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor.