Update: Cheese was released, extradited back to the UK and is now living in Exeter in Devon
British man jailed for sex with girl, 13 in USA
A 27-year-old from the UK was jailed for 17 years on Monday after filming himself sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl from Maine who he befriended in a Harry Potter chat room.
Nicholas Cheese was found guilty of abusing the Levant girl over three days in a motel room in Bangor, Maine, in June last year.
As the judge jailed Cheese, from Wolvercote near Oxford, he condemned the businessman for subjecting the young girl to ‘a range of sexual experiences many adults would refuse to explore’.
Cheese, who worked in the dry cleaning industry, had befriended the victim, who has not been identified, through an online chat room for fans of the Harry Potter children’s books when she was 12.
He arranged to meet the girl at his motel room, when he traveled to the U.S. for a business trip, and admitted to police he knew she was only 13.
Cheese was found guilty of one count of producing pornography after filming his final encounter with the child.
Initial charges from his arrest on July 1, of gross sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a minor, were dismissed in September when his case moved from state to federal court.
The victim did not appear in court, but her father spoke on her behalf, telling Judge John Woodcock that his daughter had met Cheese when she was recovering from a life-threatening illness.
The judge said that although the sex would be considered consensual if it had been between adults, he said the victim was not a ’13-year-old who looked like she was 18′
He added: ‘The defendant’s actions against this 13-year-old girl were unusually aggressive.’
As he sentenced Cheese to 17 years in prison and five years of supervised release, he said: ‘When [Cheese] met her, he gave her a crash course in sex.
‘In a matter of three days, he exposed her to a range of sexual experiences many adults would refuse to explore.’
Cheese wept as his parents, who had flown to the U.S. for his hearing, addressed the court and pleaded for leniency for their son. His father lives in Britain and his mother has a home in Spain.
The victim’s father had contacted police on June 30 last year to say that his daughter had been sexually assaulted by a man from the UK.
Detective Andrew Whitehouse and Detective Brent Beaulieu interviewed Cheese at the motel he was staying in, and later arrested him and confiscated his passport.
During questioning Cheese admitted he had gone to Bangor to have sex with the 13-year-old, and that he had previously got her to send explicit pictures and videos to him.
The images and footage, and a sexually explicit photo taken in the motel room, were found on Cheese’s cellphone, according to court documents.
Child sexual abuse images was also found on his home computer by police in the UK. It is not clear if he will face charges relating to those images.
He is expected to be deported at the end of his prison term in the U.S.
Englishman pleads guilty to photographing sexual assault on Maine girl
The Englishman charged photographing his sexual assault on a 13-year-old Levant girl met online in a Harry Potter chat room waived indictment and pleaded guilty Friday to one count of production of pornography.
Nicholas Cheese, 26, of Oxford, England, faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years. He also could be fined up $250,000. A sentencing date has not been set.
Cheese will be held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail pending the resolution of his case.
He initially was charged July 1 with one count each of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, and sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony, according to a previously published report. Those charges were dismissed by the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office in September when Cheese was charged in federal court.
Cheese came to the attention of law enforcement June 30 when the girl’s parents reported she had been sexually assaulted by a 26-year-old man from England, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court. In an interview with a detective from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, the girl said she met Cheese online in April or May 2012.
According to the prosecution’s version of events to which he pleaded guilty, Cheese told the girl he was coming to Texas for a convention and would stop in Bangor to see her. The two met at Cheese’s motel room June 26, 27 and 28, when he assaulted her.
When interviewed by investigators, Cheese admitted that he knew the girl was 13, that he had traveled to Bangor to have sex with her and that he had previously asked the girl for nude photos and videos. Those and at least one sexually explicit photo taken in Cheese’s motel room were found on his cellphone and iPod, according to court documents.