California Man Charged With Child Sexual Exploitation Offenses
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Fallbrook, Calif., has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh for violating federal child sexual exploitation laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The four‑count indictment names Edward Leonard Finley Hilts, 65, formerly of Fallbrook, Calif., as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment, from Feb. 10, 2009, to Oct. 1, 2009, Hilts attempted to persuade, induce, or entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual conduct, traveled interstate for the purpose of engaging in such conduct, and possessed and transported visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of at least 10 years in prison and up to life in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller is prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, and the Pittsburgh High Tech Crimes Task Force investigated the case leading to the indictment of Hilts.
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is a product of Project Safe Childhood. Launched in February2006, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice, 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.