By Shereen Siewert

MERRILL — A 67-year-old Stevens Point man who tried to pay for sex with a 15-year-old girl will avoid prison if he successfully completes his 10-year probation term.

Leo Pelot appeared Friday, April 12 in Lincoln County Circuit Court for sentencing on one count of child trafficking. As part of a plea agreement, charges of attempted sexual assault of a child and child enticement were dismissed.

The investigation began in March 2018 when Pelot, using the name “John Crane,” arranged to meet a woman he thought was the aunt of the girl at a Merrill fast food restaurant and paid the woman $100 to have sex with the teen.

But the “aunt” turned out to be an investigator, and Pelot was taken into custody.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Jay Tlusty sentenced Pelot to five years in prison and 10 years extended supervision, but that sentence was imposed and stayed for 10 years probation. That means that if Pelot’s probation is revoked at any time during the next 10 years, he will be sent to prison for five years followed by an additional 10 years of probation.

As part of his probation, Pelot will be required to spend six months in the county jail, pay a $1,000 fine and complete 250 hours of community service.