Local man arrested in Florida on sex charges - WNEM TV 5

Local man arrested in Florida on sex charges

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Robert Hilla Robert Hilla
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan man is behind bars in Florida after he flew there to speak at a conference about foster children - but he's now in trouble for having sex with a 16-year-old boy.

TV5 did some digging and found out the Bay City man has a criminal past, but despite that, he was being hailed a success story.

According to police, Robert Hilla, 27, met the teen through a Craigslist ad in Clearwater, FL. Authorities said the two allegedly exchanged texts and photos and then they met up at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa for sex. 

Police said Hilla is facing charges with unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Hilla flew to Florida with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative scheduled to speak at its conference as an example of someone who has successfully aged out of the foster care system. 

A representative from the group had this to say:

"I can tell you that Mr. Hilla, a former foster youth, was at our annual convening to speak on his personal experience as to foster youth in care. He has not now, nor has he ever been an employee of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunity's Initiative."

TV5 was told Hilla has been a guest speaker for the organization in the past and we discovered that's not all he has in his past.

Michigan State Police records show he failed to comply with reporting duties as a sex offender in 2006 while living in Bay City.

TV5 was unable to determine what led to that sex offender classification. We did discover through a USA Today article that Hilla entered foster care at the age of 12 after his mother left the family and his uncle, who cared for him, passed away.

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