BOSTON – A Connecticut man was arrested yesterday after driving to Watertown to allegedly meet with a woman who posted an ad on Craigslist, seeking a male that might be interested in a relationship with her minor daughter. The Craigslist advertisement was placed by undercover Homeland Security Investigation agents.
Paul R. Hinkel, 56, from Chester, Conn., was charged via criminal complaint that he persuaded, induced, enticed or coerced a minor to engage in sexual activity.
The criminal complaint alleges that in February 2014, undercover federal agents placed an ad on Craigslist using the name “Lisa Richards” and seeking a male that might be interested in a relationship involving her daughter. Hinkel responded to the advertisement, and engaged in e-mail communications with undercover agents regarding the fictional minor daughter and the sexual activities that he would engage in with her. On March 19, Hinkel traveled from his home in Connecticut to an apartment in Watertown to meet the fictional minor daughter. He carried a bag to the door with him, which agents later discovered contained sexual paraphernalia, men’s cologne and a stuffed animal. Hinkel was arrested and taken into custody. He remains in custody pending a detention hearing in U.S. District Court on March 24.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “We vigorously pursue defendants who intend to use the Internet to evade detection and to infringe on the protections of children.”
“I am very proud of my agents’ tireless work in targeting online predators, and I would like to commend our outstanding partners in the Massachusetts and Connecticut State Police Departments,” said Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “The Internet is a necessity of modern life; however, we will continue to aggressively pursue those who use it to prey on the defenseless.”
Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274, and messages will be promptly returned.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz and SAC Foucart made the announcement today. The Watertown Police Department and Massachusetts State Police assisted with Hinkel’s arrest. The case is being prosecuted by Eve A. Piemonte Stacey of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys= Offices and the Criminal Division=s CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.