A 65-year-old Linthicum man spread out a blanket and pillow in the back of his van and drove to a Baltimore County restaurant to meet what he thought was a nine-year-old girl, planning to perform sex acts with her, according to court filings.

But the supposed child was in fact an undercover detective who had exchanged over 200 text messages with David Mitchell Rowe, posing as a girl he had previously molested at a hotel pool. He was arrested and charged with soliciting a minor to engage in sexual activity. He pleaded guilty in May and was setenced Friday to 12 years in prison.

Attorneys for Rowe did not respond to requests for comment.

Rowe confessed after his arrest to molesting an 11 year old at his home in the 1970s and another nine-year-old in 2010 on two occasions while visiting her family's home, according to his plea agreement. Both other victims confirmed his story to investigators.

Rowe came across his latest victim at the swimming pool of an Embassy Suites in Linthicum in June, 2011, prosecutors said. He befriended the girl who was staying at the hotel with her parents. Rowe inappropriately touched the girl and exposed himself to her, according to court documents.

When the girl's vacation ended, Rowe gave a lifeguard a small velvet bag and asked him to pass it on to the girl, according to the plea agreement. Inside was a gold money clip with the name Dave engraved on it, and a folded up picture of Rowe.

"Write, Call or Text please. Don't forget me. Miss You," was handwritten on the back along with Rowe's contact information and a smiley face.

The girl's father told the hotel manager; He told police, who began to arrange the text message sting, prosecutors said.

"Hi Mr. Dave remember me from the pool," the detective wrote to Rowe, the plea agreement shows.

Rowe wrote back, saying that he did remember the girl but said that "society would not allow them to be a couple, and that he would end up in jail," according to the document.

He proceeded to send a string of explicit text messages, instructing her how to masturbate and saying he wanted to have sex with her, the agreement shows. On June 22 he suggested that they meet at the Baltimore County restaurant the next day.

Rowe will be on supervised release after he is out of prison and will be required to register where he lives and works.

iduncan@baltsun.com