Officers arrested Sean Muilenburg, 47, in May after he reportedly picked up the victim in Sunnyvale and brought her back to his house on Chesley Court to have sex. The girl was staying with foster parents, and the parents called 911 after discovering she had gone missing.
Muilenburg was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County jail on May 13 and posted $100,000 bail two weeks later. In a signed plea agreement dated Nov. 19, he agreed to plead no contest to one count of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14. The second count, oral copulation with a minor, will be dismissed as part of the plea deal during sentencing in January.
Muilenburg faces a minimum sentence of probation with a condition that he serve one year in county jail, and a maximum of three years in state prison, said prosecutor O'Bryan Kenney. In addition, Muilenburg will pay restitution for a yet-to-be-determined amount, and must register as a sex offender. Kenney declined to comment on the plea deal.
Muilenburg's attorney, Steven Clark, declined to comment on the case, citing pending court proceedings.
The police investigation originated as a missing person report after the foster parents in Sunnyvale said they heard the front door close around 1 a.m. and realized the 12-year-old had left, according to court documents. They swiftly called 911, and Sunnyvale officers searched the nearby Murphy Park and could not find her.
The victim left behind a cellphone that contained a text message exchange between her and an unknown phone number, later determined to be Muilenburg's phone, detailing plans for Muilenburg to secretly pick her up at Murphy Park. Sunnyvale police called Mountain View police officers to check Muilenburg's home for his car.
Around 2:08 a.m., Sunnyvale police reported that Muilenburg had dropped the victim off at her home, and that he was likely en route back to Mountain View. Officers arrested him outside his house. The girl was transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for a sexual assault forensic exam.
The victim is a foster child who did not have permanent housing at the time of the assault. She had been placed with the Sunnyvale couple the prior year, but they were "stepping back" from the program and remained an emergency option for the child. The couple took her back in just three days before the sexual assault, and she was reportedly having a hard time adjusting to the move.
The girl had run away from another location — redacted in publicly available court records — and was the victim of sexual assault at a homeless encampment in San Jose. A case worker found her and connected her to medical care before she returned home.
The victim told police that she was texting a friend and using Facebook, where she saw an advertisement for an adult dating website. The website gave her an option to talk to someone named "Sean," who said he would come to pick her up at her house.
The victim told a Sunnyvale officer that as Muilenburg drove her to his home in Mountain View, she said she was 12 years old. Muilenburg responded by saying, "Well, you're really tall," according to court records. The girl told police that Muilenburg fondled her during the car ride.
Muilenburg declined to speak with officers when detained, and was transported to the Mountain View Police Department. Police say the other resident in the home, Muilenburg's elderly father, agreed to allow officers to remain at the residence to preserve the crime scene in anticipation of a search warrant.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16 next year.