Jury Convicts Connecticut Man for Responding to Craigslist Ad for Sexual Relationship with Minor
BOSTON – A Connecticut man was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Boston for traveling to Watertown in response to an advertisement on Craigslist in which a woman sought an adult male that might be interested in a relationship with her minor daughter. The Craigslist advertisement was place by undercover Homeland Security Investigation agents.
Paul R. Hinkel, 57, of Chester, Conn. was convicted following a three-day jury trial for using the Internet to lure a minor to engage in sex. U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young scheduled sentencing for May 5, 2015. In March 2014, Hinkel was arrested and charged via criminal complaint.
In February 2014, undercover federal agents placed an advertisement on Craigslist posing as a mother purporting to seek an adult male interested in a sexual relationship with her daughter. Hinkel responded to the advertisement, and was not deterred when it was revealed that the daughter was only 15-years-old. Hinkel proceeded to engage in hundreds of emails with the undercover agents, detailing the sexual activities in which he would engage with the teen. On March 19, 2014, Hinkel traveled from his home in Chester, Conn. to Watertown to meet and have sex with 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 by federal agents upon his arrival at the site in Watertown.
The charging statute provides a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and no greater than a lifetime in prison, and a lifetime of supervised release. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today. Homeland Security Investigations, New Haven, Conn. Field Division; Customs & Border Protection, New York Air Unit; Watertown Police Department; and Massachusetts State Police also assisted with the investigation. The case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eve A. Piemonte Stacey and Jordi de Llano of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.
This 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 DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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/.