Charles Dickenson, 53, was arrested after an investigation by agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service based at Camp Lejeune.
According to warrants, Dickenson solicited sex from a child online. It turns out the "child" Dickenson thought he was talking to was actually an NCIS agent.
"The defendant allegedly had made arrangements to meet children near Camp Lejeune base for the purposes of sex and was met instead by some naval investigators," prosecutor Tom Ford told a judge Wednesday.
When agents searched Dickenson's home computer, they allegedly found child pornography, so he faces child porn charges too.
District Judge Keith Gregory told Dickenson Wednesday he faces a sentence of more than 80 years if convicted.
Dickenson's attorney said his arrest puts several people who work at his Garner engineering firm in jeopardy.
"He's got five full time employees, four part-time. He's been the president and majority owner of that corporation since 1996," Slade Trabucco told the judge as he argued for a lower bond.
But Judge Gregory refused to lower it.
"The purpose of bond is two-fold: To ensure the appearance, as you know, of Mr. Dickenson. And, more importantly at this point, to protect the public," he said.