PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A local businessman in his 70s who was accused of trying to meet an underage girl for sex pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation Friday.
In April of last year, Dwight Hicks, a Panama City real estate agent and business owner, began having conversations with undercover Panama City police officers who were posing as a 17-year-old girl, according to court records.
He then allegedly made arrangements to pick up the teenager at a local hotel and bring her back to his office. He was met by officers instead.
After he was arrested Hicks allegedly confessed that he knew the individual he planned to meet was a minor and that he planned to pay her for sexual acts, officers wrote.
Hicks’ case was transferred away from State Attorney Larry Basford of the 14th Judicial Circuit. Basford cited a conflict of interest and asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to move the case to another jurisdiction. State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden of the First Judicial Circuit then took over.
As part of his plea agreement, Hicks was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to, “undergo a sex offender evaluation and treatment as recommended at the direction of his probation officer.” He will not be labeled as a sex offender, court records state.
The adjudication of guilty was also withheld in the case.