Australian Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling to the U.S. to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct with a 6-Year-Old Boy
LOS ANGELES – An Australian geneticist pleaded guilty this morning to traveling to Los Angeles to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a 6-year-old boy.
Michael Quinn, 33, of Melbourne, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge John F. Walter, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for October 3.
“Mr. Quinn traveled to the United States to have sex with a young child,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Fortunately, law enforcement was able to ensure that no child was put in harm’s way and that Mr. Quinn would face severe consequences for his conduct.”
Quinn was arrested on May 21 by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) when he arrived at a Los Angeles-area hotel to buy a 6-year-old boy for sex.
According to documents filed in the case, the investigation began in May 2016 after undercover agents met Quinn on a social networking site that caters to individuals with a sexual interest in children. Quinn admitted during today’s hearing that he told undercover agents he was traveling to Los Angeles and wanted to “meet up with a dad who shares his young ones.” Specifically, Quinn told the agents, whom he believed were like-minded people, that he was hoping to meet “other pervs” in the U.S.
Quinn ultimately agreed to pay a human trafficker $250 to provide him with a young boy with whom he could engage in illicit sex. Once Quinn arrived in Los Angeles, he was arrested after paying another undercover agent $260. According to Quinn, “a dominant purpose of his travel was to anally sodomize someone he knew was a 6-year-old boy.”
“As this case makes clear, Homeland Security Investigations is using all of the tools and resources at its disposal to combat the sexual exploitation of children by pedophiles who’re trolling the internet searching for victims,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “Pedophiles in the United States, or anywhere in the world, who believe they can escape the detection of law enforcement by traveling to another county to commit heinous crimes against children should be on notice. Cyberspace and international borders will not be barriers to bringing you to justice.”
Pursuant to the plea agreement, if ultimately accepted by the Court, Quinn will face a federal prison sentence of between 10 years and 160 months.
This case is a product of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative launched in 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, and HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators.
The case against Quinn is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joey Blanch of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.
Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.