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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 25, 2019

Mayport Navy Lieutenant Sentenced To 10 Years For Using The Internet To Entice And Meet A Child To Engage In Sexual Activity

Jacksonville, Florida – United States District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced Michael Douglas McNeil (31, Jacksonville) to a term of 10 years in federal prison for using the internet to attempt to entice a child to engage in sexual activity. McNeil was also ordered to serve a 5-year term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender. 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 interest 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 that he had engaged in online and text conversation with the “guardian” of the 12-year-old “child” and that he showed up to meet the “child” because of his “curiosity” about “a younger girl.”     

“With the help of HSI’s law enforcement partners at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, this predator was stopped before he could harm a child,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.

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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

This 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated March 26, 2019