Sex sting trial scheduled next month

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A 20-year-old Washington man who allegedly traveled to Post Falls in February to have sex with a girl who claimed to be 14 — but who was in fact a police officer in a sex sting operation — will have a trial next month, according to a Thursday ruling by a Coeur d’Alene judge.

Kilian J. Hoyne asked the court to postpone a three-day trial pending evidence obtained during a polygraph, but Judge Lansing Haynes denied the motion and set an Aug. 6 trial date.

Hoyne’s attorney, Doug Phelps, said evidence gleaned from the polygraph may have been used by police to tease false statements from his client.

Hoyne is charged with using the internet to entice children, a felony that carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

Phelps also wanted more time to learn what information the police officer who served as the decoy had provided to administrators of the website used to snag Hoyne and six others last winter. Anyone who registered on the site had to be an adult, according to the site’s rules, Phelps said. His client therefore did not believe the person he communicated with was 14 years old.

“To get on the website, you’re supposed to be 18 years old, or older,” Phelps said. “My client understood you had to be 18 to be on the website.”

Phelps asked the court for more time to learn about the site’s requirements, and said Hoyne likely thought the person he communicated with was playing the role of a younger person.

“You really have no idea who you’re communicating with,” he said.

Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Perez opposed Hoyne’s request to vacate the August trial date. All discovery evidence had been turned over to the defense, Perez said, and because polygraphs are not admissible in court, nothing learned from Hoyne’s test will be used at trial.

Hoyne was among four Washington men to be arrested in the sting. In addition, a man who drove several hours from Portland, a Post Falls man, and convicted sex offender Richard Peterson of Rathdrum were also arrested in the sting conducted by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and local police.

Called Operation Lonely Heart, the sting started Feb. 8, employed 60 officers, including several women who pretended to be underage girls, and was conducted from the Post Falls Police Department conference room.

Two Spokane men including Paul V. Gauron, 54, and Carl E. Ness, 54, face charges in federal court of traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, which carries up to 30 years in prison and a fine of no more than $250,000 and five years of supervised release.

Peterson, 24, was sentenced last week to an underlying 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to one count of enticing children using the internet.

Haynes said he had not yet received the witness list from the defense team, and set another pretrial hearing next week, which could be the last hearing before Hoyne goes to trial.

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