A Michigan man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty in March to grooming a 13-year-old Ferry County girl and then traveling across the country to have sex with her.
Timothy A. Shelly, 47, formerly of Wyandotte, Mich., admitted to enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity and traveling interstate to have sex with a minor. As part of the sentence Thursday by U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley, Shelly must register as a sex offender for life.
The investigation began when Shelly’s wife called local police in Michigan and told them that she believed her husband was having an affair with a girl in Washington state.
The investigation showed that Shelly, using a false name and age, began instant messaging the girl in January 2005. He flew from Michigan to Washington to have sex with her on Labor Day that year, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice said.
“Law enforcement contacted the parents of the victim and they confirmed that they were aware of a Tim Shelly, but believed him to be a teenage boyfriend of their daughter, not a 41-year-old man,” Rice wrote in a news release.
Over the course of the relationship, Shelly sent the girl a CD player, two rings and cell phones. One of the cell phones was hidden inside a stuffed animal.
The case is an unfortunate reminder of what can happen when sexual predators surf the ’net for victims, said Michael Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.
“Adolescents are particularly vulnerable, especially to sexual predators that groom their victims with friendship and gifts,” Orsmby said in a news release. “Children using the Internet are not necessarily safe just because they use the Internet at home.”