NEW JERSEY – A former CEO and millionaire who flew his private plane, put it on autopilot, and sexually abused a teenage girl he was flying from Cape Cod to New Jersey is now behind bars after being convicted of sex crimes in both state and federal courts.
His name is Stephen Bradley Mell, age 53, he appeared on Tuesday to start two overlapping prison sentences inside the Federal Correctional Institution Allenwood Low located in Pennsylvania, according to a report by NJ.com.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of New Jersey, Mr. Mell pleaded guilty in June to one count of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct and another count of receipt of child pornography.
A month before that, Mr. Mell pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child with sexual conduct, Acting Prosecutor Michael Williams of Hunterdon County, New Jersey reported.
The result of the federal conviction was a sentence of seven years in prison. The state conviction that involved Mr. Mell’s interactions with the same underage teen girl, carried a three-year prison term set to be served at the same time, said the county prosecutor.
Mr. Mell is the former CEO and president of investment firm W.H. Mell Associates in Summit, NJ.com reported.
Mell was introduced to the teen in 2017 by the girl’s mother when the minor wanted flying lessons, the court documents that were cited by Bridgewater Courier News revealed.
According to the federal complaint Mell, age 51 at that time, started communicating with the girl via SnapChat and text message, she was 15 at the time, and Mell ultimately made sexual advances towards her.
The complaint shows that Mr. Mell invited her over to his Bedminster home and sexually abused the girl on July 5, 2017. The following day, Mell bought an emergency contraceptive for her. Then on July 20, the complaint shows Mell flew the teen girl in his private plane to Barnstable, Massachusetts, on Cape Code “for the purpose of engaging in illicit conduct, specifically, a sexual act with a person under the age of eighteen.”
While flying back, Mell put the plane’s flight controls onto autopilot and continued sexually abusing the girl, says the complaint.
The document stated Mell asked the teen to send him explicit sexually engaged images of herself via Snapchat, FaceTime video, and text message.
In June 2018, Mr. Mell was arrested following an investigation by the Hunterdon County prosecutor’s special victims unit, which found that Mell engaged in a sexual relationship with a victim under the age of 16 in both Bedminster and Readington townships, according to the prosecutor’s office in a statement.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that “From July 2017 through December 2017, Mell knowingly traveled in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in the production of child pornography and sexual acts with a minor who he knew to be less than 17 years of age. Mell also admitted knowingly receiving child pornography in interstate commerce during the same period.”
Placed on top of Mell’s federal prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Brian R. Matinotti sentenced Mell to a supervised release for five years, issued him a $40,000 fine, and gave the order for Mell to pay restitution fees of $35,200, along with a Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act assessment in the amount of $5,000.
That being said, it isn’t enough of a punishment and he got off light.