Former marine jailed for internet abduction

Former US marine Toby Studabaker, who had sex with a 12-year-old British girl after “grooming” her on the internet, was jailed for four-and-a-half years today.

Former US marine Toby Studabaker, who had sex with a 12-year-old British girl after “grooming” her on the internet, was jailed for four-and-a-half years today.

Studabaker, aged 33, from Michigan, pleaded guilty to child abduction and to inciting a child to commit gross indecency at Manchester Crown Court in February.

Today Mr Justice Leveson sentenced him to four-and-a-half years in jail for each offence to run concurrently.

The court was told the pair had “met” a year earlier on the internet.

Studabaker flew to Paris with the girl after an arranged meeting at Manchester Airport last July.

Prosecutor Beverley Lunt said at an earlier hearing that Studabaker groomed his victim so she would not object to sexual activity when they met up.

On their first night together in the Paris hotel, on July 12, they slept in separate twin beds, but the next day they bought vodka and spent the evening kissing.

She added: “They both woke up later on the Sunday night and there was more kissing and then they had sexual intercourse on her bed.”

The girl, who lives with her family in Greater Manchester and cannot be named for legal reasons, was reported missing at 11pm on July 12, around 15 hours after telling her parents she was going into town with friends.

An international manhunt was launched as the pair went from Paris to Strasbourg and then on to Stuttgart, in Germany.

In Stuttgart, on July 15, the girl rang her parents and told them she was safe. She flew back to the UK alone the following day.

Studabaker went to Frankfurt and was arrested outside the American Embassy on July 16, before being extradited to the UK.

He confessed to German police he had met the youngster on a “cartoony” website.

Following his arrest, Greater Manchester Police and the FBI seized four computers to which Studabaker had access and two computers used by his victim.

They found numerous e-mails penned by the former marine. In some he coerced the youngster into taking part in “cybersex“.

Prosecutor Ms Lunt said that while the 12-year-old’s messages were romantic and innocent, his described acts of sexual foreplay and sexual intercourse in graphic detail.

It is not the first time Studabaker, a former Bible scholar who was decorated for his military service in Afghanistan, has faced allegations of a sexual nature.

In 1998 he was accused by a family member of groping his 12-year-old niece’s breasts during a game of play wrestling.

He was also accused of giving bubble-gum flavoured sexual lubricant to a nine-year-old niece and suggesting she used it on him.

In both cases no charges were brought.

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