SOUTHGATE, Mich. (FOX 2) - A Michigan man pleaded guilty to all federal charges stemming from allegations that he coerced a 13-year-old girl into sending him explicit photos and traveled to Pennsylvania to sexually assault her.
Mark Allen Hillis, 58, of Southgate, entered a guilty plea this week to one count of enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, one count of traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct, nine counts of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography, two counts of transferring obscene material to a minor, and one count of possessing child pornography.
Authorities said Hillis met a 13-year-old girl in a YouTube chatroom. He is accused of getting her phone number to send her explicit photos and harassing her at all hours of the day and night.
Hillis is also accused of coercing the girl into sending him explicit photos of herself.
After months of texting the girl, authorities said he traveled to Pennsylvania and convinced the child to sneak out of her home. Authorities said he took her to a hotel and sexually assaulted her.
"Mark Hillis not only manipulated a young child into providing him with explicit images of herself, he traveled across state lines, convinced her to leave her home, and assaulted her – every parent’s worst nightmare," said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. "The defendant’s guilty plea ensures that he will be held accountable for being the predator that he is."
In addition to the federal charges, he is facing a state charge for the alleged assault.
"Online grooming and sexual exploitation of children is a heinous crime that is happening far too often," said HSI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael. "These investigations will continue to be one of our top priorities to ensure that children around the world are protected from sexual predators."