An Oklahoma City attorney accused of having sex with minors in Peru has changed his plea to guilty Thursday morning.
Three months ago, Michael Billings and his attorney left the federal courthouse disappointed that a federal judge had denied his request to modify terms of his house arrest. The Oklahoma City attorney had been allowed to be free while he waited for his trial.
But on Thursday he waived his right to a trial and chose to plead guilty to one felony count.
“Mike wants to get this behind him and move on to the next step,” said Billings’ attorney Daniel White. “He did not want to go to jail today, but the judge saw things differently and put him into custody.”
A federal grand jury indicted Billings on 3 counts back in October of 2014. But federal prosecutors were only able to get him to admit one thing - that he paid a 16-year-old girl to perform a sex act on him during one of his many trips to Peru.
Video of the raid on Billings hotel room in September 2013 has been released. Now that he has pleaded guilty to illicit sexual conduct, he could face up to 30 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. He may also be forced to register as a sex offender for life.
Billings told the judge he was not coerced into making his guilty plea, but his attorney says his family was a big reason he decided to do so.
“It’s impacted his family life, his children, his children at school his activities with his children. just normal things he's used to doing with them,” said White. “He's been limited because of the restrictions he's had.”
None of Billings’ family members were present in the courtroom today.
It will be at least 90 days before Billings is sentenced in federal court.