Man arrested in Aurora child sex trafficking sting pleads guilty to lesser charge
A man whose conviction on several child sex crimes was overturned has now pleaded guilty to a lesser crime instead of having a second trial.
Shane R. Lewis, 44, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, accepted a sentence of three years in prison Friday in exchange for pleading guilty to felony solicitation of a sexual act of a minor.
He received credit for the more than three years he spent in prison after his conviction, so he will not have to return to prison. Lewis has been free on bond while awaiting a second trial.
A Kane County prosecutor told Judge Elizabeth Flood that on Jan. 8, 2015, Lewis was in Downers Grove on a business trip and saw an ad on Backpage.com for an escort. According to testimony at his 2017 trial, the ad read, "Hey, looking to get warm? -- 18."
He texted with the advertiser, who said she was a mother of two girls, ages 14 and 15.
Lewis then went to an Aurora hotel to meet her and the girls. According to testimony at the trial, he and the agent discussed what sexual acts would be allowed with the girls, and then he paid the agent.
The advertiser, however, was an undercover federal Homeland Security Investigations agent working with Aurora police on a sex trafficking sting. Eight men were arrested in the sting.
Lewis was convicted of involuntary sexual servitude of a minor -- a felony punishable by a minimum of six years in prison -- traveling to meet a minor and grooming a child for sex. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
During the first trial, the defense argued that authorities illegally induced Lewis to commit an illegal act he normally would not have done.
Lewis had no criminal history and testified that he was looking for adult companionship because he was "sad, lonely and depressed" that night. He also said the "mother" first suggested sexual activity with the girls.
The 2nd District Appellate Court reversed Lewis' conviction in late 2021, ruling he had ineffective counsel, and remanded the case for a new trial.