A convicted child molester has pleaded not guilty to a solicitation charge that could send him back to prison.
Trial has been set for May 27 for Peter William Sweet, 62, of Arbuckle, who was charged with arranging to meet a minor for sexual purposes.
Colusa County Deputy District Attorney Brendan Farrell, who filed the single felony charge on April 29, said the incident that occurred on or around April 16 was motivated by Sweet’s unusual and abnormal sexual interest in children.
The court is protecting the intended victim’s identity.
Arranging to meet a minor for sexual purposes can be charged as a misdemeanor, officials said, except for those who have had prior felony convictions involving sex with a minor.
In 1989, Sweet was convicted by a jury, at the age of 31, of oral copulation and lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14. He was sentenced to two concurrent six year terms in state prison, but was released on parole in 1992.
According to court records, Sweet has had a number of run-ins with the law since his child molestation conviction, including multiple DUIs. He has also been convicted over the years of violating probation, failing to register as a sex offender, and failing to pay fines.
In 2018, Sweet was arrested for assaulting another man with an unopened can of beer, while drunk. The assault charge was later dismissed when Sweet pleaded no contest to disobeying a court order not to drink alcohol, court records indicate.
Sweet is to appear before Colusa County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Thompson for a trial readiness conference on March 22.
Thompson has been hesitant to schedule jury trials due to the pandemic, but hoped that vaccinations would be sufficiently rolled out enough that courts might resume some normalcy by the end of May. ♣