Former College of the Canyons board member Ernest L. “Ernie” Tichenor Jr. pleaded guilty in a Virginia courtroom Friday to using the Internet to lure a child for sex.
Tichenor, 56, served on the COC board of trustees from 1997 to 2009 when his job with the IRS took him to Fairfax County, Va.
In August 2011, Tichenor was arrested in neighboring Loudoun County, home to a 13-year-old girl he tried to lure through the Craigslist website.
At the time, Loudoun County Sheriff’s spokesman Kraig Troxell said Tichenor used the “Personals” section of Craiglist website to create advertisements reading, “Dominant handsome professor for naughty young student” and “College girl in need of $$$$$.” He was arrested after the 13-year-old victim’s mother found “inappropriate” e-mail messages from Tichenor to her daughter, Troxell said.
On Monday prosecutor Joshua Steward said Tichenor pleaded guilty to one felony count of using “a communications system to facilitate certain offenses with a child.”
In so doing, Tichenor plea-bargained down from the original charge of soliciting from a minor under age 15. That crime would have been punishable by no less than 5 years and no more than 30 years in prison, Steward said.
The crime of proposing sex with a “child” – a person under 18 – carries a lesser penalty of no more than five years and a $2,500 fine, Steward said.
In his plea deal, Tichenor agreed to serve at least six months behind bars, Steward said.
The prosecutor described the six-month agreement as a “starting point.”
“We take these very seriously,” Steward said. “I haven’t decided exactly what (amount of time) I’m going to argue for.”
“Six months is not an insignificant amount of time,” he added.
When he’s sentenced, Tichenor won’t get much credit for time served, Steward said. He has been free on bond most of the time since his Aug. 15 arrest.
Tichenor will also have to undergo a “psycho-sexual evaluation,” Steward said, and he’ll have to register as a sex offender.