A Pennsylvania man convicted of traveling to an Aurora-area hotel to pay for sex with underage girls was sentenced to six years in prison Friday.
Shane L. Lewis, 38, was convicted of involuntary servitude of a minor, traveling to meet a minor and grooming, all felonies, after a jury trial in August.
The most severe charge against Lewis carried a prison term of six to 30 years, with no chance of probation.
Aurora police arrested Lewis in January 2015 after he responded to an online ad for paid sex while in Downers Grove for business.
In the sting, underage girls were advertised for sex. Once the men showed up and paid in advance for sexual acts, police stepped in and made arrests. No underage girls were ever present at the hotel.
Defense attorney Don Zuelke contended at trial that his client was entrapped, and he also unsuccessfully argued for a new trial, saying the state law was unconstitutional and there was no actual victim in the case.
"There's no victim here," Zuelke said, pushing for the minimum prison term. "This was a one-time occurrence in Mr. Lewis' life, and I think that's clear. This was a terrible mistake he made."
Lewis wrote Judge Linda Abrahamson a long apology letter, which he thanked her for reading. "I ask for mercy from the court. I promise you will never see me (here in the defendant's seat) again," he wrote.
Lewis' mom, aunt, sister and co-worker also testified to Abrahamson as to Lewis' work ethic, character and supporting role as a brother and nephew. But some also said police pulled a bait-and-switch and trapped Lewis.
Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Christine Bayer asked for a prison term above the minimum, saying Lewis and others caught in the sting are part of the human trafficking problem -- men who are willing to pay for sex with minors.
"These were his own actions," Bayer said. "He had desires and he didn't care that night how they were met. He didn't care that they were two underage minors."
Overall, 10 people were arrested and charged in underage sex stings in December 2014/January 2015 and March 2015 in operations conducted by Aurora police and the Department of Homeland Security.
Lewis was the 10th person to be sent to prison after trial or a guilty plea.
Lewis gets credit for about two months spent at the Kane County jail. He also must register as a sex offender after his release.