CARTERET COUNTY - A sex offender who investigators say abducted a 12-year-old Carteret County girl and took her to Florida has pleaded guilty to statutory rape.
Timothy Howard Newman, 39, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree statutory rape Monday morning in the Carteret County Courthouse in Beaufort. He was sentenced to between 31 years eight months to 48 years in prison. Once released, Newman will be subject to GPS monitoring.
According to District Attorney Scott Thomas, Newman targeted the 12-year-old Newport girl through text messages. The girl's father confronted Newman and told him to stop. But Newman lured the girl from her home on Sept. 23, 2012, investigators said.
She was reported missing the next day, prompting an AMBER Alert.
Using information from various sources --including surveillance video at a gas station, credit card information, and Newman's ties to Florida-- the Carteret County Sheriff's Office, the N.C. SBI and the FBI found Newman and the 12-year-old girl on Sept. 26, 2012 in Broward County, Fla., north of Miami, Thomas said.
The girl was returned home to her father.
Although Newman pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree statutory rape Monday, he did not plead guilty to his other charges, including felony child abduction, identity theft, larceny, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. As per condition of the plea deal according to the DA.
The victim's father, who we've chosen not to identify, said the deal kept his daughter out of court.
"It kept her back out of court and back out of to be on trial, I'm satisfied with that part of it," said the father.
In Florida, he was charged with grand theft auto. Newman also faced a federal charge of enticing a child across state lines.
Newman was previously convicted in Stokes County in 2004 for having sex with a 13-year-old. He spent nearly seven years in prison.