RHINELANDER, Wis. — A Merrill man who thought he was meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex is facing felony charges in Oneida County Circuit Court after being snared in an Internet Crimes Against Children investigation last week.

Police say Robert Ney, 39, of Merrill, started talking online in March to an undercover officer with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department who was posing as a 15-year-old girl. Ney allegedly sent sexually explicit messages and arranged to meet the “girl” in Rhinelander.

On Saturday, March 30, Oneida County investigators were waiting for Ney at the Shopko in Rhinelander. Ney allegedly told police he only wanted to take the “girl” to breakfast and never planned to have sex with her.

“All he would have done is give Anna a peck on the cheek,” the complaint states, according to a WJFW report.

Officers told Ney they had seen the text messages he sent, to which Ney replied, “If it was in the messages he had said it but couldn’t remember,” according to the criminal complaint.

Ney also claimed two condoms in his car were old, but later allegedly admitted to buying them at a gas station on the way to Rhinelander that day. Ney agreed to write an apology letter to the “15-year-old girl.”

Ney appeared April 2 in Oneida County Circuit Court, where he faces felony charges of second-degree sexual assault of a child and using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

Judge Michael Bloom set a cash bond at $5,000 on Tuesday. Ney, who faces up to 60 years in the Wisconsin Prison System if he is convicted on both charges, cannot have any electronic devices that access the internet.

Reporting provided by WJFW