The 13-year-old girl turned out to be an agent from Homeland Security Investigations who had answered his online personal ad for "daddy looking for daughter" in which he sought a sexual relationship.
Matthew Perry Maples, of San Diego, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to attempt to entice a minor into a sexual relationship that involved lurid conversations on an online website. The jurisdiction is federal because it involved interstate commerce.
Maples received the law's mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years from Judge Larry Burns, who ordered him to pay a $5,000 special assessment for the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. That 2015 legislation allows for judges to order such assessments which would be deposited into funds for victims of human trafficking.
Maples has been in custody since his July 21 arrest in the lobby of a Point Loma hotel where he had rented a room and was awaiting arrival of what he believed was a 13-year-old girl, according to court records.
Maples is a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy and has received many medals in his 20-year career, according to court documents filed by his attorney. He has served aboard the USS Dallas and the USS Theodore Roosevelt. He is estranged from his wife since his arrest and has no prior conviction, his attorney wrote.
Maples attorney wrote that Maples' alcoholism contributed to the crime. Maples will have to register as a sex offender after his release, according to court documents.
Over the course of two weeks, Maples wrote to the fake girl saying he would teach her "how to kiss and make out," and sent her a nude image of himself. The agent posing as the girl wrote that she was a virgin and Maples responded that she would lose her virginity to him in the hotel encounter, according to conversations listed in court records.
"Protecting children from predators is a top priority for this office," said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman in a press release after the sentencing.
Maples told the fake girl that he was thwarted from renting a room at one Point Loma hotel so he found another one in Point Loma and gave her the address.
Burns signed a criminal forfeiture order that allows the government to keep Maples' laptop computer.
Contributing to the investigation was the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that work to combat sexual exploitation of children through the Internet. Homeland Security is a member of the Task Force.