Mayport Navy Lieutenant Pleads Guilty To Using The Internet To Entice And Meet A Child To Engage In Sexual Activity
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces today that Michael Douglas McNeil (31, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to using the internet to attempt to entice a child to engage in sexual activity. McNeil faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison. McNeil is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy; he has been detained since his arrest on August 30, 2018.
According to court documents, on August 27, 2018, a detective with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, who was posing online as a family member of a 12-year-old handicapped child, received a message on a social media application from McNeil, who identified himself as “Mark.” McNeil expressed interested in having sex with the “child” and was advised that the “child” was 12 years old. Between August 27 and August 30, 2018, McNeil and the undercover detective discussed plans for McNeil to meet the “child” for sex. McNeil asked for several photos of the “child,” sent the undercover detective an explicit photo of himself, and asked specific questions about the “child’s” sexual experience and abilities. On August 30, 2018, McNeil drove to a coffee shop in Orange Park to meet the “child” for sex and was arrested.
During an interview, McNeil admitted, among other things, that he had engaged in online and text conversation with the “guardian” of the 12-year-old “child,” that he had sent them a photo of his own genitalia, and that he showed up to meet the “child” because of his “curiosity” about “a younger girl.”
This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.