HONOLULU (KHNL) - A Maui man, accused of flying to Oahu to try to have sex with a child he met on the Internet, changed his mind about going to trial and pleaded guilty Tuesday.
State prosecutors say the fact that a man would take the time to book a flight and a hotel room, and show up at a popular children's attraction with sex running through his mind, is disturbing.
From the price tag for his airline ticket to the loss of his freedom, it's been a costly mistake for Chris Mabe.
"What did you do that makes you guilty?" Virginia Crandall, Circuit judge, asked.
"Um, electronic enticement of a minor," Mabe replied.
Investigators say the 37-year-old had sexually-explicit conversations online with an undercover agent, who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. The Wailuku, Maui resident arranged to meet the girl at the Waikiki Aquarium, where officers nabbed him.
"They're targeting children and trying to set up sex with them," Albert Cook, deputy attorney general, said. "The fact that they would fly from another island to do that just shows how persistent they are."
The defendant pleads guilty to electronic enticement of a child, which carries a mandatory 10-year prison sentence. Probation is not an option.
"It's disturbing," Cook said. "And that's why we push for the open 10-year prison sentence for these type of cases because, in our mind, these are really sex assaults in the first degree just waiting to happen."
Mabe tells the judge, in the past, he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After the hearing, his attorney declines comment.
Mabe must now register as a sex offender.
"If you're talking to someone, you find out that they're underage, just stop," Cook said. "Just don't do it because you never know whether you're talking with an actual child or law enforcement."