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Former youth baseball coach from Plainfield pleads guilty to charge involving minor

Christopher Merchant Photo Credit: Rhode Island State Police

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island prosecutors say a youth baseball coach from Connecticut accused of soliciting a minor has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the case.

U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman says 33-year-old Christopher Merchant, of Canterbury, Connecticut pleaded guilty Wednesday to interstate travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and transporting child pornography.

Merchant’s attorney declined to comment.

Weisman says Merchant acknowledged sending sexually-graphic messages and photographs to a person he believed to be a 14-year-old boy. He says Merchant also acknowledged arranging a meeting at a Warwick hotel, where he was arrested Jan. 25.

Merchant was communicating with an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force member.

Weisman says Merchant, a Connecticut little league vice president and coach, had child pornography on his phone.

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