A Missouri man has pleaded guilty to charges that he took a 17-year-old girl with learning disabilities from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, where he sold her for sex.
Stephen Ardrey, 30, of Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday acknowledged he met the girl in an online chat room in December 2012.
The girl suffers from reactive attachment disorder that affects her ability to act appropriately in social situations.
They continued to communicate via email and a program called Text Now, which was available to the victim on library computers.
In September, Ardrey met her at a library in Medfield, Mass., and they made their way to a motel in West Greenwich.
Police said Ardrey took nude pictures of the girl and posted them on Backpage.com and Craigslist along with an ad soliciting money for sex. The ads said she was 19 years old.
Investigators learned that on two occasions, a man responded to the ads and offered $40 and two packs of cigarettes to have sex with the teenager.
The girl was found in neighboring Coventry after someone saw them walking together.
Ardrey has been in federal custody since.
He pleaded guilty to trafficking a minor and transporting a minor to engage in sex.
NBC 10 tried to talk with the victim's mother, but she didn't have anything to say as she was leaving court.
The charges carry a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 15.The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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