EASTON, Pa. | A New Jersey man could spend up to two years in prison after trying to hide a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Michael J. Stalks, of Phillipsburg, pleaded guilty last week to single felony counts of unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors in connection to the interstate affair with a 15-year-old that began in 2018.
Northampton County Judge Samuel Murray immediately sentenced the 27-year-old to 12 to 24 months in prison with credit for time served. Stalks has been in Northampton County Prison since his arraigned in May.
As part of a negotiated plea, Stalks will also be on probation for two years and must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law for 25 years. He’s to receive sexual offender treatment and have no contact with the victim or any minor.
The judge ordered that Stalks is to have no access to social media and that any other internet access be monitored.
An agent with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received a tip in February that Stalks was allegedly using Facebook to communicate with the teen, according to court records. Stalks agreed in May to an interview regarding his “online activity,” according to records.
Stalks admitted to the investigator that he used his smartphone and Facebook messenger app to talk with the girl. After driving from his house in Phillipsburg to her home in Easton, Stalks said he'd park near her house and wait for the girl to come to his car, according to authorities.
He drove her from Easton to Phillipsburg about five times for sex.
The investigator said Stalks admitted knowing that the girl was only 15 and that it was illegal to have sex with her. He also admitted discussing with her not getting caught and hiding the relationship.
Authorities interviewed the girl with a family member present, and she reported meeting Stalks through a mutual friend. She confirmed for the investigator that she and Stalks communicated via Facebook messenger, and that he'd drive her to and from her Easton home.