By Fred Petke / Staff Writer

A Somerset man will be sentenced next month for propositioning who he believed to be a female juvenile during a Barbourville Police sting operation last summer.

Hussein Turki, 50, was arrested when he showed up at Thompson Park in Barbourville, after making arrangements to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Instead, it was Barbourville Police Officer Jake Knuckles in the Internet chat room posing as a girl.

Turki pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activity, according to the Knox Circuit Clerk’s office. The plea agreement calls for Turki to serve two and a half years. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Barbourville on Oct. 5.

Barbourville Police conducted the sting in May 2006 after seeing similar operations on television, officers said at the time. During Turki’s preliminary hearing, Knuckles testified he was sitting in a Yahoo chat room posing as a 14-year-old girl after midnight on May 5 when a user started the conversation, identifying himself as “gentlemanky4u.” After three minutes, Knuckles said the user asked about the size of the girl’s panties; from there the conversation turned sexual. Eventually, they agreed to meet in the park the following night, confirming everything beforehand in the chat room. Knuckles said the user forwarded a picture of the Lexus SUV he would be driving and said he would be in the park before 1 a.m.

The following night, BPD Officer Winston Tye spotted the Lexus in traffic and followed it to a store where the driver asked for directions, then drove to the park. Turki was arrested shortly after 1 a.m. and his vehicle was confiscated. Somerset Police later confiscated Turki’s home and office computers as part of the investigation.

Turki remains free on bond until his sentencing hearing.

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