MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA — A Michigan man who groomed a local teenage girl online and then traveled from his home state to Pennsylvania, where he sexually abused the 13-year-old victim in a hotel room, has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
Mark Allen Hillis, 58, of Southgate, Michigan, was sentenced Friday by US District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno in federal court in Philadelphia, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Hillis pleaded guilty a year ago to a 14-count indictment against him for the sexual assault and child exploitation of the Limerick Township girl.
Prosecutors said Hillis met the young girl in a YouTube chat room and began an online relationship with her that included sending the girl obscene pictures and repeatedly asking her to send him sexually explicit pictures of herself.
Patch reported on the case in late November, when Hillis pleaded guilty to the charges.
Related: Michigan man ‘Daddy’ sexually assaulted Limerick girl: feds
Hillis, known by his online nickname “Daddy” and another nickname, “Denverpolice#666,” pleaded guilty to a number of charges late last year, including seducing a minor into criminal sexual activity and traveling for illegal sexual conduct , producing and attempting to produce child pornography, providing obscene material to minors, and possession of child pornography.
Federal prosecutors said Hillis sent hundreds of obscene images and “hounded the minors at all hours of the day and night, repeatedly asking them to produce sexually explicit images of themselves and text them to him,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office publication .
“Mark Hillis not only manipulated a young child to provide him with explicit images of himself, he brazenly traveled across state lines, convinced her to leave home and assaulted her – every parent’s worst nightmare,” the US attorney said Jacqueline Romero in a statement. “This 25-year sentence will ensure that he stays safely behind bars for a long time and will not be able to exploit other children.”
William S. Walker, the special agent in charge of the Department of Homeland Security Investigations in Philadelphia, thanked the Limerick Township Police Department for starting the investigation into Hillis and “following her to the end.”
“It is only through cohesive partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that investigations and prosecutions like this can be conducted,” Walker said in a statement.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele also released a statement Friday following the federal sentencing, calling Hillis “the personification of ‘alien threat’.”
“He used the internet to find his victim by contacting and nurturing a young girl before escalating into sexually assaulting her,” Steele said. “It’s such an outrageous case that shows how important it is for parents to talk to their kids about internet safety and to share information with strangers online.”
The judge ordered Hillis to life imprisonment after he was eventually released from federal custody.