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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

California Man Gets 27-Year Prison Sentence For Child Exploitation Crimes

PITTSBURGH – Edward Hilts, a former resident of Fallbrook, Calif., was sentenced to 324 months in federal prison for committing several child sexual exploitation crimes, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Hilts, age 69, was sentenced by United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose. Judge Ambrose also imposed a lifetime term of supervised release to follow the prison sentence and ordered Hilts to register as a convicted sex offender.

In June 2014, Hilts was convicted at the conclusion of a federal jury trial of attempting to persuade, induce, or entice a 14-year-old child to engage in illegal sexual acts; of traveling from California to Pennsylvania with the intent to engage in illegal sexual acts with a 14-year-old child; of transporting sexually explicit images of children from California to Pennsylvania; and of possessing sexually explicit images of children. In addition to evidence of the commission of these crimes by Hilts, the prosecution presented evidence at sentencing that Hilts had previously sexually molested a 13-year-old child in Thailand; that Hilts had sexually molested another child for several years in the 1980’s; and that Hilts absconded from bond while his federal case was pending to travel to meet up with a 16-year-old child in Vancouver, British Columbia. Hilts communicated with the 16-year-old child about his desire to engage in sex acts with her 10-year- old sister.

Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, the Pittsburgh High Tech Crimes Task Force, and the Vancouver (British Columbia) Police Department investigated the case leading to the conviction of Hilts.

This case was a product of Project Safe Childhood. Launched in February 2006, 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.justice.gov/psc.

Updated July 14, 2015