Anthony Weiner pleads guilty to sexting North Carolina teen, reports say

A former Democratic congressman who was brought down over sexting scandals pleaded guilty Friday.

An investigation was launched last September into reports that Anthony Weiner had been sending sexually explicit messages to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, The Times reported.

Weiner pleaded guilty to a charge of transmitting sexual material to a minor and could be sentenced to years in prison. He agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison.

The judge also told Weiner he would have to register as a sex offender.

“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” the former Democratic congressman told The Associated Press.

The girl is now 17 years old and she didn't say much about Weiner or the case.

She is working to get past that situation and lead a normal life.

Her online relationship with him lasted for two years and that didn't surprise Dottie Scher, executive director of Child Abuse Prevention in Gaston County.

"You can find people who have these inclinations anywhere," Scher said.

She teaches a course about online child abuse.

Every city of Gastonia employee who works with children is required to take it.

She tells them human traffickers often look for minors online. She also tells trainees about Asheville teens who thought they connected with a photographer online.

"They found those two girls in Myrtle Beach about to be shipped to Moscow," Scher said.

Even in the mildest cases, children who have sexual experiences with strangers online often need therapy, she said.

"Know what they are doing,” Scher said.

She urges parents to check their children's electronic communications and convince them to speak out if they receive alarming messages.

Weiner's guilty plea is part of a plea agreement. He was in FBI custody Friday morning after turning himself in, ABC News reported.

The investigation is what prompted the final review in October 2016 of Hillary Clinton's private email server, ABC News reported last year. During the investigation into Weiner's text messages to the teen, at least one device was found to have been used by both Weiner and his now estranged wife, Huma Abedin, Clinton's aide.

Abedin had an email account on Clinton's private server, ABC News reported. Days before the November presidential election, former FBI director James Comey told Congress about the FBI investigation into emails between Clinton and her aides, The Times reported last year.

Two days before the election, Comey wrote a second letter to Congress saying that no new evidence against Clinton was found, Fox News reported. The Comey letters and late-in-the-election investigation have been blamed for Clinton's loss to President Donald Trump, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Comey testified on May 3 that it makes him "mildly nauseous" that the letters to Congress could have changed the election outcome, NPR reported, but he said he believes he did the right thing.

Trump fired Comey May 9 after his testimony, NPR reported.

Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011 after explicit pictures in an unrelated case became public, CNN reported.