Lawrence man seeks to enter criminal mediation to resolve child pornography charges, faces life in prison

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Michael William Wicks exits the courtroom after a hearing on May 12, 2023, in Douglas County District Court. He is charged with an off-grid felony count of sexual exploitation of a child by promoting a sexual performance of a child under the age of 14.

A Lawrence man waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Friday in Douglas County District Court in hopes of resolving child pornography charges through criminal mediation.

Michael William Wicks, 53, is charged with one felony count of sexual exploitation of a child by promoting a performance of a child under the age of 14 and one felony count of aggravated internet trading in child pornography, according to charging documents. The sexual exploitation charge is an off-grid felony that could result in life in prison. The charges relate to an incident on May 14, 2022.

Wicks was arrested in connection with the charges on Feb. 9. He is currently free on a $100,000 surety bond.

Wicks was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Friday, at which the state would have presented evidence to show probable cause that a crime was committed and that Wicks committed the crime.

Wicks’ attorney, Hatem Chahine, said that Wicks wanted to waive the hearing and engage in an Independent Assessment Conference, or criminal mediation, with the state to try to resolve the charges short of a trial.

Deputy District Attorney Joshua Seiden said that he was willing to participate in the process and asked Judge Sally Pokorny to set a trial date just in case the IAC process failed. Pokorny set a trial for Aug. 28.