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A prior sex offender in Fulton pleaded guilty in federal court Monday after his mother and grandmother transported a 13-year-old child victim from Alabama to engage in illegal sexual activity with him.

Michael James Collins, 21, who was a resident at the Community Supervision Center in Fulton, was on probation at the time of the offense for a prior felony conviction for sexual misconduct involving a child.

According to a plea agreement, the Callaway County Sheriff's Department received information on Dec. 10, 2017, that a 13-year-old girl from Alabama was missing from her home. A cell phone ping placed the child at a residence in Fulton, where she was located and removed.

Collins told authorities he paid his grandmother $400 to go to Alabama to pick up the child, whom he met on a dating website in July 2017. Collins' mother was with his grandmother when the child was picked up in Alabama and transported to Missouri. Collins' grandmother and mother also transported the child between the Fulton residence and Collins' residence at the Community Supervision Center when they were taking Collins back and forth to work.

Collins and the child communicated with each other from July to December 2017 via cell phone, Facebook Messenger and other apps, which was a violation of Collins' probation. Collins accessed the internet using his cell phone as well as his mother's cell phone.

Collins pleaded guilty to transporting a minor under the age of 14 across state lines with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activity and to committing the offense while he was under the requirement to register as a sex offender.

Under federal statutes, Collins is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

The case was investigated by the Callaway County Sheriff's Department, the Fulton Police Department, the FBI, the Callaway County Prosecutor's Office and the Callaway County Children's Division.

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