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Repeat offender pleads guilty to arranging to have sex with a minor

Robert Eccleston appeared in federal court in Providence on Thursday afternoon where he plead guilty to traveling to RI to have oral sex with a minor. (WJAR)

A repeat sex offender previously sentenced for raping a minor plead guilty in federal court on Thursday in a separate incident where he arranged to have oral sex with a minor.

Robert Eccleston, 56, of Fairhaven, Mass. plead guilty before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to traveling interstate to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 after after prosecutors said he travelled from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to touch the genitalia of a 15-year-old male and engage in oral sex with that minor.

Eccleston left his manufacturing job in New Bedford on July 12, 2016 and met with who he believed was a 15-year-old male from Rhode Island that he had been communicating with on Craigslist, but when he arrived he was arrested by Rhode Island State Police and members of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

Prosecutors said Eccleston responded a personals/casual encounters ad titled “XboxCrazy!!” describing a single male who was looking for Xbox games to play.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Dulce Donovan told the court Eccleston was really interacting with a special agent with the Dept. of Homeland Security, Home Security Investigations assigned to Providence, who made told Eccleston that he was only 15.

That didn’t stop Eccleston from asking the minor’s penis size and asking the minor to send him a photo of his penis.

“It was clear from my communication with Eccleston that he believed that he was communicating with someone under the age of 18,” wrote the agent in a nine-page affidavit detailing the communication.

Eccleston, who had six months left on his probation from a previous rape conviction, arranged to meet the teen at a Marshal’s/ Stop and Shop plaza parking lot in East Providence where he planned to engage in oral sex and/or touching of the genitalia with the minor, according to the affidavit.

Once in custody, Eccleston told investigators that, since his release from Barnstable County Jail in 2007, he had engaged in sexual activity with other minors.

Eccleston is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Providence in December.

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