- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A Welsh man faces charges of rape, sodomy and kidnapping after police say he traveled to the United States to have sex with a 10-year-old girl he met through an online chat program

Gareth V. Hall, 22, was jailed in Eugene after his arrest at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The public defender appointed to represent him, John Volmert, did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Hall works as a lifeguard at a swimming pool in his hometown and has regular access to children, Eugene police said at a news conference Thursday.

“One of the things we hope to answer is why he traveled so far to meet with one person,” Detective Jed McGuire told reporters, according to the Register-Guard newspaper (https://is.gd/Jrpyeh ). “One might read into it that he wanted to stay away from his home area. That’s my speculation at this point.”

McGuire said Hall and the girl spoke for two months before meeting in early April. Hall allegedly picked the girl up in a rental car and took her to a hotel.

Police said the girl sneaked out of the house to go with Hall, who was in Eugene for about four days before returning to the United Kingdom.

A parent reported the incident to police after conversations with the girl revealed a small amount of information, McGuire said.

“I don’t think they quite understood the full scope of everything until we became involved,” McGuire said.

The Lane County district attorney’s office issued an arrest warrant for Hall April 30.

Less than a week later, Hall was arrested at the Chicago airport.

“He was going to another part of the country to meet somebody, and I don’t know what that was and I don’t want to read too much into that because we’re still looking into it,” McGuire said.

Hall was arraigned Wednesday and his next court appearance is scheduled for June 10. A judge ordered him to have no contact with the girl, court records show.

___

Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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