A former Fort Benning, Ga., soldier faces a minimum of 10 years, and possibly life, in prison for taking a 13-year-old runaway girl from Florida to his barracks room, where over a six-day period in May and June, he repeatedly raped her and took photographs and videos.
Former Spc. Samuel Ray Robinson, 23, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land scheduled his sentencing hearing for Dec. 17.
Robinson faces a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, and up to life in prison, in accordance with federal laws regarding sex crimes involving minors. There is no parole in the federal system.
He also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 and a maximum of supervised release for life, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.
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Hatley denies crimes ever happened. Platoon members testified in detail that they did.
Based on court documents, interviews with police and an FBI agent, this is how the pair met and the incidents unfolded:
Robinson told authorities that sometime in April he met the Florida girl in an online Narcotics Anonymous recovery group. The pair began communicating independently of the group. He claims she told him she was 18 years old at the time.
Over the course of the following weeks, they made plans for her to visit him at Fort Benning, where he was stationed.
On May 27, the girl ran away from her Santa Rosa Beach home. That same day, Robinson drove the eight-hour round trip to a gas station in Destin, Fla., about a half-hour from the girl’s home, where he picked her up and brought her back to his barracks room at Fort Benning.
The girl stayed in Robinson’s room for the next six days. During this time, they had sexual intercourse multiple times. He later told authorities that he took at least 100 photos and videos of her nude, to include the pair engaged in sex acts.
Robinson also admitted to police that at some point before he went to Destin to pick her up, the girl told him she was 15 years old.
On June 2, Robinson dropped the girl off at an Econo Lodge Hotel on Victory Drive just outside of Fort Benning.
That day the girl contacted her mother and shared a GPS “pin,” showing her to be at the Columbus, Ga., motel. Local police were dispatched to pick her up and transport her back to Florida. The police also later retrieved data showing the girl’s phone “pinged” on Fort Benning between May 27 and June 2, and that she had been communicating with Robinson, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Walton County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office deputies contacted the Fort Benning Criminal Investigative Division on June 14 regarding the 13-year-old runaway girl.
On July 15, FBI Agent John W. Goodpaster interviewed Robinson about his relationship with the girl. He was arrested Aug. 24 under a federal warrant.
“Robinson targeted a vulnerable minor online, took her hours away from home, and kept her hidden, abusing her repeatedly. He will pay a steep penalty for his egregious crime — federal prison without parole,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “I want to thank Fort Benning CID, the Columbus authorities and the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for investigating this case and bringing the victim safely home.”
Robinson has been discharged from the Army and will have to register as a sex offender if he is released from prison.
“Robinson’s behavior is not tolerated in the U.S. Army and, hopefully, this will be of some solace to his victim and prevent him from targeting other such vulnerable people,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Micah Rush.