A 51-year-old former Hermosa Beach police officer will serve three years’ probation after he was caught trying to meet up with a 16-year-old girl for sex through an online dating site, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.
Through a plea deal, Todd A. Lewitt will avoid jail time and will not have to sign up with the state’s sex offender registry, according to DA’s office spokesman Paul Eakins. The Long Beach resident has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of soliciting prostitution.
Lewitt will have to complete 52 sex offender counseling sessions and will be subject to search and seizure conditions in addition to the terms of probation, prosecutors said.
He came to the attention of law enforcement when he tried arranging to have sex with an undercover decoy posing as a teenage girl on July 26, 2018, prosecutors said. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was leading the sting operation, and Lewitt was arrested when he arrived to meet the girl at a location in East L.A.
The former officer was initially charged with one count of meeting a minor for lewd purposes, the DA’s office said on Aug. 16, 2018. At the time, prosecutors said he could face up to four years in state prison if convicted of the charge.
But, Lewitt’s attorney, Pat Carey, has claimed that he believed the undercover officer was actually 20 years old — not 16 — and he failed to arrive at the designated meeting place, according to the Daily Breeze.
The newspaper also reported Lewitt has had a troubled history with the Hermosa Beach Police Department, which he left in June 2016.
While there, he was involved in an FBI probe into excessive use of force and a personnel lawsuit that led to him being reinstated as an officer, the Breeze reported. Following another legal battle with the department, Lewitt eventually left and settled with the city for $537,000.