A 54-year-old Massachusetts man was arrested after he traveled to Michigan to have sex with a 13-year-old girl whom he “married” in an online role-playing game, according to authorities, as reported by the NY Daily News.
John Phillips, of Fitchburg, faces a slew of charges, including sexual assault, child sexually abusive activity and accosting a child for immoral purposes, police said during a press conference earlier this week.
Phillips met the Detroit teen last year while playing the multiplayer RuneScape game. The two had a fictitious marriage in the game, said Wayne County Sheriff’s Cpl. Ray Johnson.
“Maybe he thought that was legitimate in real life,” Johnson told The Boston Globe. “It’s not.”
Police said the man drove from his home to meet his online bride in Detroit, where he had sex with her and gave her a cell phone so they could talk.
The teen’s mother contacted police after catching the girl with the cell phone.
An investigation led to the discovery of at least three sexual encounters between the two over several months, one in a hotel, one in a van and one in the girl’s home.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said Phillips was arrested in upstate New York, while visiting his father. Phillips had tried to disguise himself by dyeing his hair and growing his beard.
If convicted, Phillips will face four to 20 years behind bars.