SALT LAKE CITY — Local businessman Lonnie Nyman was sent to prison Monday morning after he tried and failed to convince a 3rd District Court judge that he takes full responsibility for enticing a minor into sexual activity and later writing bad checks in an attempt to get out of jail.
“I find that Mr. Nyman is and continues to be a threat to the community,” Judge Vernice Trease said.
After listening to Nyman’s own statements in court, Trease said Nyman does not seem to understand what sexual deviancy is, and while he doesn’t come out and say it directly, he believes his pending divorce is an excuse for his behavior.
Nyman, the owner of Nyman Funeral Home, pleaded guilty in June to one count each of dealing in material harmful to a minor, tampering with a witness and obstruction of justice, all third-degree felony offenses, along with two counts of enticing, soliciting or luring a minor by internet or text, a class A misdemeanor.
The judge ordered him to serve zero to five years for each felony, along with 364 days in jail or prison on the enticement charge, all of which is to be served concurrently.
Nyman also pleaded guilty to two second-degree felonies — engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity and issuing a bad check — in connection with his fraudulent attempt to post bail following his arrest in the first case.
He has been ordered to serve 1 to 15 years in prison on both of these charges, also to be served concurrently.
The two groups of sentences are to be served consecutively.
Nyman was given the opportunity to speak in court Monday and acknowledged he is not always good at effectively conveying his thoughts.
He explained to the judge that he was using an internet app called Grindr, which is advertised as a social networking tool among gay, bisexual, trans and queer people.
The app is reportedly for people age 18 and older and he apparently assumed all users were of age. However, according to information shared in the courtroom, Nyman discovered the male individual he made arrangements to meet was a juvenile he was very well acquainted with.
According to prosecuting attorney Ryan Holtan, Nyman tried to make investigators believe that he thought the youth was 19 years old. He also attempted to represent that there was some disparity in the date of the incident, whether it was just days before or just after the youth turned 18.
In court, Nyman said it was not his intent to seek out a juvenile for sexual activity. Then, he tried to explain his financial crimes by saying he thought he could post bail with a credit card.
He later found out that the bail company would not accept American Express, so he wrote two checks with the intention of transferring money into those accounts when he was released from jail, he said.
He told the judge he did not intend to write bad checks, and in fact he paid them off within 14 days.
“It wasn’t like I was just flying by night,” he said.