HARTFORD, Conn. — A Fargo man has admitted traveling to Connecticut to have sex with a minor, a crime that could land him in federal prison for up to 30 years.
Christopher James Brereton, 34, pleaded guilty to traveling between states with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut announced Monday, July 19, in a news release. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 8.
Brereton was a North Dakota State University student and National Guard member when he began chatting online with a girl who claimed she was 18 years old in January 2020, according to the release. The next month, law enforcement took over the account, and an undercover Homeland Security agent who posed as the girl told Brereton that her real age was 15, the release said.
The two continued to discuss the prospect of having sex before Brereton made plans to drive to Connecticut, authorities said. He drove from Fargo on March 12, 2020 and was arrested by New Haven police the next day after arriving in Connecticut, according to the release.
He initially was charged in New Haven Superior Court with four felonies: risk of injury to a child, second-degree attempt to commit sexual assault, third-degree attempt to possess child pornography and enticing a minor by a computer. He also was charged with a misdemeanor of attempting to solicit sexual conduct.
Typically, state charges are dismissed so federal prosecutors can pursue their case.
At the time the initial charges arose, Brereton was an Army National Guard member serving on a part-time basis. He was expected to leave the guard soon, a spokesperson said in April 2020.