A Rhode Island man who drove from North Carolina to Maine in 2014 to have sex with a 14-year-old girl pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland to a federal charge of traveling interstate to have sex with a minor.

William McNeill, 23, of Cumberland, Rhode Island, was living in North Carolina during the fall of 2014 when he met the girl through an online dating website, according to a prosecution document filed with the court.

The girl, who lives in Cumberland County, initially “presented herself to the defendant as being older than 14 years old,” but she eventually told McNeill her actual age, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Conley wrote in the prosecution document.

McNeill communicated with the girl by computer and cellphone, making plans for a sexual encounter after she revealed her actual age. On Oct. 18, 2014, McNeill drove from North Carolina to a pre-arranged meeting place in Maine, where the girl got into his car and they had sex, Conley wrote.

McNeill was arrested on a warrant in Massachusetts after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Maine. He was allowed to remain free after his initial appearance in federal court in Boston on a $10,000 unsecured bond with a curfew and travel restrictions, court records state.

But after his guilty plea on Monday, Judge George Singal ordered McNeill be taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service.

McNeill admitted to the crime during an interview on Jan. 9, 2015, with agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, according to court records.

McNeill is scheduled to be sentenced before Singal on July 11. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.

 


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