By Shereen Siewert

MERRILL — A 52-year-old Merrill man is facing multiple felony charges in Lincoln County Circuit Court after allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 10-year-old boy.

James S. Ament, who is being held on a $100,000 cash bond, appeared Tuesday in court for a plea hearing. He was convicted of child enticement. Charges of attempted first-degree child sex assault and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime will be dismissed but considered at sentencing.

Prosecutors say Ament wrote his phone number in a bathroom stall at a Merrill park and began communicating with two children who called the number in August 2018. Then, prosecutors say, Ament solicited sex from the children, who called the police.

Officers acted quickly to set up a sting and began communicating with Ament, posing as a 10-year-old boy. Ament was arrested after arranging to meet the “boy” at Riverside Park in Merrill.

During the plea hearing, Lincoln County Circuit Judge Robert Russell ordered a presentencing investigation be completed before determining an appropriate sentence for Ament. A scheduling conference is set for Aug. 22, but a sentencing hearing has not yet been set.