URBANA — An Indiana man who admitted he took a Champaign teen across state lines intending to have sex with her faces a federal penitentiary sentence.
Nicholas R. Hurley, 22, of Daleville, Ind., pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Urbana to a single count of transportation of a minor.
He's scheduled to be sentenced May 15.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson agreed to recommend a 10-year sentence for Hurley even though he could face life in prison.
The charge stemmed from Hurley's conduct in early September with a then 13-year-old girl who told authorities she initially planned just to meet with Hurley but ended up leaving the state with him.
According to facts laid out in Hurley's plea agreement, the girl first became acquainted with Hurley while visiting family friends in Daleville, Ind., during the last two weeks of August.
When she got home, her mother noticed that the daughter and Hurley were communicating frequently via cellphone and Facebook and that at least once, he traveled to Champaign to meet her.
On Sept. 4, the girl's mother told Hurley via Facebook that it was inappropriate for him to have a relationship with a 13-year-old girl and that he should stop communicating with her. Hurley agreed.
The next day, the daughter asked for permission to go for a walk in her neighborhood, which her mother granted. She left home about 12:30 p.m. and did not return.
About three hours later, she called her mother and said she had been abducted and that her abductor allowed her one phone call to tell her mother she was all right. Using cellphone tracking, Champaign police investigators figured out that the call was made from Bondville. They also learned that Hurley's father's vehicle was missing from Daleville.
The next morning, investigators used the cellphone technology to locate Hurley's phone in Cape Girardeau, Mo. He was arrested at a Walmart in that city and the girl was returned home.
Hurley admitted to U.S. marshals that he had been using Facebook, Skype, and text messages to communicate with the girl for several weeks and that the two of them created fake Facebook identities to communicate after having been forbidden by the girl's mother to be in contact. He told authorities that the girl wanted to run away and that she convinced him to run away with her.
Although Hurley denied having sex with the girl, he said that was his intention.
The girl also admitted to authorities that she communicated with Hurley via Facebook, Skype and texts for weeks before he came to Champaign Sept. 5 and picked her up at a fast food restaurant near her home. She said initially she just intended to see him but together they decided to run away.