A Somerset County man was sentenced Monday to seven years in federal prison, after admitting having sexual encounters with a teenager younger than 16.

Stephen Bradley Mell, 53, of Far Hills, pleaded guilty in Trenton federal court to one count of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of receipt of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced Monday.

Mell, a then-married father of three, was arrested in June 2018, was accused of engaging in sexual relations with a female victim under the age of 16 in Readington and Bedminster Townships, according to the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office.

He pleaded guilty in May to endangering the welfare of a child with sexual conduct, and will be sentenced on that charge next month in Hunterdon County Superior Court .

According to federal court documents, Mell engaged in sexual acts with the teen, as well as received illegal photos and video clips of her between July 2017 and December 2017.

As reported by the Bridgewater Courier News, citing the federal complaint, Mell began exchanging text and SnapChat messages with the then 15-year-old girl, which soon became sexual in nature.

In July 2017, Mell flew with the teen in his private plane from Somerset Airport to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and engaged in sexual acts on the trip home, with the plane in "autopilot mode," according to the federal complaint.

Mell worked as at municipal bond trader at his father's company, W.H. Mell Associates, for 25 years, ending last year.

In addition to the prison term, Mell was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

He also was ordered to pay $80,000 in fines, restitution and a Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act assessment.


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