A 16-year-old Australian girl has returned home after flying to the US last month to meet a US man with a long criminal history who she met via the social media Snapchat app.
Sean Price, 39, is behind bars in a New York jail accused of contacting the teenager, from Lindfield on Sydney’s upper north shore, on Snapchat in October 2016 and enticing her overseas for sex.
Price, who lived with his mother in the New York borough of Queens, is charged with transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Price’s bail bid in a Brooklyn court on Wednesday was denied.
US prosecutors allege Price met the girl on the Snapchat app in October last year and transferred $US1500 ($A2011) to her in Australia.
Last month the girl, described in court documents as “Jane Doe”, flew to Los Angeles and Price flew to LA from New York to meet her, according to authorities.
They allegedly hired a car and drove across the US.
“Defendant Sean Price acknowledged that he drove Jane Doe from California to New York, making various stops along the way,” Homeland Security Investigations special agent Miguel Collazo wrote in the criminal complaint.
“Defendant acknowledged being aware of Jane Doe’s age over the course of their travel from California to New York and stated that he had engaged in sexual intercourse with Jane Doe in multiple states, including in New York State.”
Homeland Security agents received a tip-off from Australian authorities on May 11. The girl, who had been reported missing by her parents, was believed to be in Queens.
ON May 12, NYPD officers went to Price’s home and while his mother answered the front door Price and the girl allegedly attempted to flee out a back door, but when they were spotted they attempted to hide in the basement.
Price reportedly has 11 prior convictions including criminally negligent homicide for the death of a passenger in a car crash.
“Any offer doesn’t give the court much confidence,” Brooklyn Federal Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky said in denying Price bail, according to the New York Daily News.
The girl has since returned to Australia, AFP confirmed.
Her parents are working with Australian and US officials to determined exactly what happened to lead the girl to leave Australia.
– with AAP