The 14-year-old was one of three minors he sexually "exploited" after meeting online.
21-year-old Nikolas Boris Mariani of Royal Oak, Michigan was sentenced to 11 years in a federal prison this week after being accused of "having serially exploited minors that he met online."
According to the Department of Justice, Mariani was sentenced for coercing and enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and for receiving child pornography -- after he pleaded guilty earlier this year. The DoJ labeled him a "serial abuser of young girls," who were all 14 at the time he participated in "unlawful sexual activity" with them after meeting them on Snapchat.
In the sentencing memorandum in the case (via Law & Crime), the state said his "use of the internet and manipulation to engage in sex with those who are legally unable to consent makes him no less dangerous than the rapist who hides in a dark alley assaulting strangers."
The doc states Mariani would lie about his age, pretending to be younger than he actually was when talking to someone who identified as under 16.
One of the victim's mothers allegedly found "disturbing messages" on her daughter's phone between her and Mariani in December 2020, in which he "encouraged her to run away after she got on birth control" and asked "her to spend a Covid lockdown that he believed was imminent" with him. In addition to having sex with the young girl, he also obtained sexually explicit images from her.
When police went to Mariani's residence later that month while searching for a missing girl, he answered the door in "nothing but a towel" -- before authorities found another 14-year-old "runaway ... hiding under Mariani's bed" in "a sweatshirt and nothing else." The two met over Snapchat and had sex after he allegedly knew she was only 14.
Per the DoJ, DNA evidence also linked him to another incident in which he "picked up a 14-year-old girl from her home in Flint and engaged in unlawful sex acts with her, later leaving her in a parking lot in Detroit."
"The sentence handed down in this case reflects the serious nature of the crimes committed by this defendant, which are particularly troubling given his repeated efforts to harm and exploit minors," James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Detroit Field Office, said in the release. "The FBI is committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society – our children – and to bringing predators like Mariani to justice."
Added U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison: "This offender serially exploited minors that he met online. Our office will work tirelessly to pursue and prosecute individuals who exploit vulnerable children."