(WXYZ) — A Southgate man entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to fourteen counts of child exploitation.
The indictment charges Mark Allen Hillis, 58, with 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.
The charges stem from the alleged sexual exploitation of a 13-year old child over the internet and by text message over a period of months, his travel from Michigan to Pennsylvania to meet up with her for sex, and his sexual assault of her in a local hotel room when he arrived.
Hillis went by the screen name "Denverpolice#666" and the name "Daddy", according to the indictment.
He allegedly met the 13-year-old femaile victim through a YouTube chat room and reportedly sent her hundreds of obscene images.
The indictment also indicates that Hillis traveled to Pennsylvania where he met the victim where he picked her up, took her to a hotel room, 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.”
“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. Thanks to this investigation and our partnerships with the local police agencies involved, we were able to identify this predator and protect future children from falling victim.”
“Law enforcement in Montgomery County is ever-vigilant for online perpetrators who prey on children,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. “We remain focused on protecting this most vulnerable population and working with our state and federal partners to prosecute these dangerous criminals. We thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their tireless work on this case.”
This case was brought to light through Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice back in 2006 in an effort to fight back against child exploitation.