Piedmont oncologist Dr. Maurice Wolin, who challenged his prosecution in connection with a sexual predator sting operation in Petaluma in August 2006, pleaded no contest this afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court to attempting to commit a lewd or lascivious act with a child under age 14. Wolin, 50, agreed to plead no contest to the felony charge in return for a 90-day county jail term and three years probation. He will be sentenced Feb. 26. Conviction of the felony carries a state prison term. Judge Arthur Wick said Wolin could apply for an alternative to serving the county jail term. Alternatives typically include home confinement or community service. Wick said Wolin could not withdraw his no contest plea if those alternatives are not available to him. Wolin also must register as a sex offender. Neither Wolin nor his attorney Blair Berk, would comment after Wolin entered his plea this afternoon. Berk said commenting would be “highly inappropriate.” Wolin was among 31 men who were arrested after they drove to a Petaluma house to have sex with young girls they had conversed with online. Petaluma police Lt. Matt Stapleton, who oversaw the sex sting operation for the Police Department in conjunction with the Perverted Justice organization, said there are still five cases arising from the sting pending in court. The rest have resulted in convictions, including other plea agreements, he said. Dateline NBC interviewed and filmed some of the men at the house and their subsequent arrest as part of its “To Catch a Predator” segment. Berk argued at Wolin’s preliminary hearing in October 2007 that Wolin was entrapped by police and Perverted Justice founder Xavier Von Erck, who posed as 13-year-old “willowfilipino” during instant messaging chats with Wolin over a four-day period. Berk said Wolin told the 18-year-old actress who greeted the men at the Petaluma house, “I can’t” when she asked Wolin to join her in a hot tub. She said Wolin was there for only 49 seconds and started to leave when he noticed video monitors used in the sting operation behind a screen. She said Perverted Justice founder Xavier Von Erck, initiated the online conversations and he badgered Wolin and called him a “chicken, a liar and a player” when Wolin balked at meeting “willowfilipino” two days before his arrest. Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell argued during the preliminary hearing that Wolin, who’s online name was “tall dreamy doc,” engaged in “classic grooming behavior” and that his driving to the Petaluma house was an act in furtherance of an attempt to commit a lewd act.
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