PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Mark Allen Hillis, 58, of Southgate, Michigan entered a plea of guilty before United States District Court Judge Eduardo C. Robreno to all charges against him in a 14-count Indictment, including 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 arose from the defendant’s 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 (also known by his screen name “Denverpolice#666” and the name “Daddy”) met his 13-year-old minor victim in a YouTube chatroom. After obtaining the child’s phone number, Hillis sent her hundreds of obscene images and hounded the minor at all times of the day and night, repeatedly requesting her to produce and send him sexually explicit images of herself via text message. After months of online and text communication, Hillis convinced the child to sneak out of her home in the middle of the night. Hillis, having traveled to Pennsylvania to meet the child victim for sex, then picked her up and took her to a hotel room, where he sexually assaulted her. In addition to the federal charges, Hillis faces state charges related to the sexual assault in Montgomery County.
“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 as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the Limerick Township Police Department, the Montgomery County Criminal Investigation Division of the District Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Deal.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Eastern District of Pennsylvania