Joseph Stinnett, the 24-year-old Niantic man charged with enticing a minor through a series of Internet and phone chats in an Avon undercover police sting operation pleaded not guilty Thursday at Hartford Superior Court.
Stinnett's case has been moved to the pre-trial docket for the Part A division of the court that hears higher crimes. His next scheduled court appearance is March 4.
He remains in lock-up on a $75,000 court-set bond.
Earlier this month,
Stinnett contacted an individual in a Yahoo Messenger romantic chatroom who was immediately identified to him as a 15-year-old girl, police said in a court affidavit. Unbeknownst to him, that person was a police officer conducting an undercover investigation. During a series of chats over the course of a few days, he made several sexually explicit comments and referenced making plans to meet the 15-year-old female persona, the court documents stated.
At the time, he was employed as a chief estimator for TMP Construction in East Lyme.