A New Jersey dollar millionaire is possibly heading to jail after he engaged in sexual acts with a 15-year-old girl for months, including once on his private plane which he put on autopilot mode, according to a federal complaint.
Stephen Bradley Mell will be sentenced Tuesday, May 21, facing the possibility of five years in federal prison and five years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty in December 2018 to charges of engaging in interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct and receiving child pornography.
The criminal complaint against the 53-year-old Bedminster resident, detailing his illicit relationship with the minor, was obtained by the Bridgewater Courier News and reported Sunday.
Mell, who served as the president of the brokerage firm W.H. Mell Associates and was a licensed pilot, first met the minor after her mother introduced them for flying lessons.
Mell, who was 51 at the time, began communicating with the 15-year-old girl privately through SnapChat in 2017.
The conversations turned sexual when Mell asked “if she knew how to perform oral sex,” according to the complaint.
On three occasions in June and July 2017, Mell performed sex acts on the girl, according to the complaint.
During one of those meetups, Mell flew with her in his private plane from Somerset Airport to Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod “for the purpose of engaging in illicit conduct, specifically, a sexual act with a person under the age of eighteen.”
It was on that flight back that he put the plane on autopilot mode and again engaged in sex acts, according to the complaint.
He also asked for sexually explicit photos of the girl, arranged a hotel room for them and begged her to get birth control.
“Trust me the sex is amazing but so is being around you,” he wrote to her in October 2017.
The last event detailed in the complaint and the Courier News took place on November 14, 2017, when he asked the girl to send “a nice naked pic cute thing.”
Mell is currently free on $1 million (Ksh100 million) bond and living with his mother on Kiawah Island, S.C.
Prior to the charges against him, he was viewed as an active community member, serving on the board of the Far Hills Day School and volunteering in numerous charities, including the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, according to the Courier News.