The 15-year-old girl was introduced to accused Stephen Bradley Mell by her mother who wanted the teenager to take flying lessons from him.
A New Jersey-based millionaire faces five years in jail after he pleaded guilty for engaging in sexual acts with a minor, including one instance when he put his private plane on autopilot for the explicit purpose of having sex with the 15-year-old girl on the plane, as per the federal complaint. The 53-year-old man, identified as Stephen Bradley Mell, of Somerset County, is due for sentencing at a federal court on Tuesday.
Mell pleaded guilty last year to engaging in interstate travel to perform illicit sexual conduct with the minor girl, as well as for receiving child pornography in December. As per reports, Mell began sexting with the teenage girl shortly after he was introduced to her by her mother, who wanted the 15-year-old girl to take flying lessons from him.
According to the complaint, Mell, who is a father of three, began chatting up with the girl in 2017, and would exchange text messages and SnapChat photos with her. He eventually arranged for the girl to meet him at his $3.8 million mansion in Bedminster, the complaint states.
The accused allegedly “performed oral sex acts” on the girl on June 20 that year, and the two would often talk about having sex and using birth control, Fox News reported quoting the complaint. Reportedly, Mell even brought an emergency contraceptive pill on July 6.
In a text message, Mell is said to have told the girl, “If you are nervous it will hurt more. When you are turned on is when it will feel ok.”
On July 20 that year, the two of them met for their private flight out of Somerset Airport to Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod. The purpose of the journey was to engage in “illicit conduct, specifically, a sexual act,” the complaint said.
It was on the return flight to Somerset when Mell allegedly put the plane on autopilot to have sex with the minor girl.
The two communicated throughout the summer of 2017 with their last communication documented in November 2017, when the 53-year-old man is said to have texted the minor girl, “Send me a nice naked pic cute thing.” Interestingly, in the past, Mell has been involved with several charities, with many working for children’s’ welfare as well.
It was not clear how Mell’s abusive behaviour was exposed, however, the accused admitted to his crimes in December 2018. The case also resulted in his wife filing for a divorce from him.