A Catholic monk who tried to entice what he thought was a 13-year-old boy to come to Mexico City to engage in sex, but was actually dealing with a federal agent, pleaded guilty today to a single charge.
Earl John Place, 61, eventually invited "Denny" to visit his monastery in Mexico City to engage in sexual conduct, according to court documents.
Place even wrote "Denny's grandmother" a letter on church letterhead inviting "Denny" to visit him, using the ruse of studying Mexican history, according to court documents.
The monk was apprehended at the Mexico City airport where he was supposed to meet "Denny."
Place was expelled from Mexico by Mexican immigration officials on Sept. 13, 2005, and brought to the United States where he was taken into federal custody.
Place pleaded guilty to attempted inducement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Sentencing was set for Sept. 20 before U.S. District Court Judge Napoleon Jones Jr.
"The exploitation of children is obnoxious in any form," said U.S. Attorney Carol Lam. "Attempts to accomplish such exploitation by those in positions of trust are particularly reprehensible."
According to court documents, Place came to the attention of the Immigration and Customs and Enforcement in June 2005 during an undercover online investigation of several Internet chat rooms.
"The Internet does not recognize international borders. ICE is committed to pursuing all investigative leads to the fullest extent," said ICE Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Unzueta.
"This investigation is a perfect example of why binational cooperation with our law enforcement counterparts in Mexico is important."