A Department of Defense employee has pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-girl while working in Honduras, and faces up to 30 years in federal prison.
Mark Curry McGrath, 55, was the civilian director of the Network Enterprise Center at the Soto Cano Air Base in Comayagua, Honduras, from 2012-204 when he met the girl, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston.
McGrath, who has been in federal custody since his arrest in San Antonio in October 2014, "admitted he gave the girl money, gifts, and other items of value in exchange for sexual acts," according to the press release.
Court documents showed that McGrath met the girl at a supermarket, where she was buying a cake for her 13th birthday. (However, both McGrath and the girl claimed that she told him she was 16, as if that makes things less icky).
As we wrote after McGrath was charged, "FBI agents found evidence in the messages and chats between the two on the young girl's Facebook account. In one of those messages, McGrath wrote, 'You're too young to be with me in public,' and 'I'm not mad at you, I am upset about the rules and you are only 16 years old.'"
McGrath also told an adult female on Facebook that the girl was in love with him and that "It was an error on my part a while ago, but I'm in trouble because of her, it's my fault."
McGrath's attorney originally claimed that the U.S. government lacked the authority to prosecute crimes in a foreign country.
Public defender Marjorie Meyers argued in motion that "Prosecution of Mr. McGrath for sexual activity in Honduras is akin to prosecuting an American citizen who smokes hashish in Amsterdam, an activity that is legal in the Netherlands.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 6. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
The press release states that the 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."