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Child porn plea for NZ man accused of kidnapping attempt

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A New Zealand man accused of trying to kidnap a 14-year-old Virginia girl he met online pleaded guilty Thursday to production of child pornography, federal prosecutors announced in a news release.

At sentencing on Feb. 11, Skinner faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Federal authorities said Skinner met the girl online in December 2017, when he was 24 and she was 13, although she told him she was 16, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. They communicated via chat sessions and livestream video sessions, and had an online sexual relationship, according to the affidavit.

Authorities have not named the girl because of her age. In court documents, prosecutors said that when the girl tried to end their relationship, Skinner “started harassing her and attempting to manipulate her with threats of suicide.” The girl eventually cut off contact with Skinner.

Skinner left Auckland on June 20, 2018, traveled to the U.S. and arrived at the girl’s house on June 22, according to the statement of facts filed with Skinner’s plea agreement. He tried to speak to family members inside, then threw a paving stone through the glass window of the kitchen door and tried to enter. After several verbal warnings, the girl’s mother fired a handgun to keep Skinner from entering, striking him once in the neck, according to the statement. Skinner collapsed in a neighbor’s yard, where he was apprehended by members of the sheriff’s office.

A search of Skinner’s belongings at the scene turned up duct tape, pepper spray and a folding pocketknife, according to filings by the government. On two mobile phones seized from Skinner, investigators found images of child pornography depicting the girl. Investigators in New Zealand examined Skinner’s laptop and later provided U.S. investigators with a thumb drive containing 120 video and 56 image files depicting the girl.
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