Boston man accused of enticing RI minor pleads guilty

PROVIDENCE (WPRI) — A Boston man accused of traveling to Rhode Island at least four times to have sex with a minor pleaded guilty to charges in U.S. District Court.

According to the US attorney’s office, Rafael Leal, 39, admitted to the court Wednesday that he enticed the minor through text messages and messages sent through the Internet.

He pleaded guilty to charges of using means of interstate commerce (Internet) to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and interstate travel to engage in sexual activity with a minor.

FBI agents arrested Leal at his Massachusetts residence on November 22, 2016.

Leal has been detained since his arrest and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 11, 2017.

Using means of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity is punishable by a statutory penalty of a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life imprisonment; interstate travel to engage in sexual activity with a minor is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to 30 years imprisonment.