German businessman pleads guilty to sex charge after Internet sting

May 01, 1999|By A SUN STAFF WRITER

A German businessman pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Baltimore to crossing state lines to have sex with a minor, admitting he drove from Boston to Columbia for a liaison set up over the Internet with what he thought was a 14-year-old boy.

The "boy" was an FBI agent.

U.S. District Judge William N. Nickerson scheduled sentencing for June 4 for Bodo Erwin Mueller, 33.

Mueller, a German computer company representative, faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but first-time offenders typically get between one and two years.

Under a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney's office for Maryland, prosecutors said they would recommend a sentence at the low end of the range specified under federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account such factors as admission of guilt and criminal history.

In exchange, Mueller agreed to be deported from the United States at his own expense at the end of his sentence and said he would not re-enter the country without written permission from the U.S. attorney general.

Mueller was arrested March 27 at The Mall in Columbia by FBI agents working with the bureau's "Innocent Images" task force to investigate sex crimes against children.

After six weeks of sexually explicit Internet conversations with an FBI agent posing as a boy named Kirk, Mueller planned to have sex with what he thought was the youth in a hotel room he had rented, according to a statement of facts included with the plea agreement.

Pub Date: 5/01/99

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