PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Fairhaven man previously convicted of rape pleaded guilty Thursday to traveling to Rhode Island to engage in sexual activity with a minor.
Robert Eccleston, 56, entered the plea in federal court in Providence. He’ll be sentenced in December.
Prosecutors said Eccleston went from Massachusetts to a shopping plaza in East Providence in July 2016 to meet who he thought was a 15-year-old boy.
In fact, Eccleston had been communicating with a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security. Eccleston had responded to an online personal ad including a photograph of a male who claimed to be 18 and single. During conversations online, the agent told Eccleston he was only 15 and lived with his mother, and Eccleston later asked the ‘boy’ for photographs, including explicit nude images – before eventually asking the ‘boy’ to meet in person to engage in sexual activity.
Eccleston had to register as a sex offender after he was convicted of raping a teenage boy in Massachusetts in 2006. He remains in federal custody.