LOS ANGELES– A federal grand jury today indicted a British man on federal charges alleging that he travelled to the Coachella Valley in late January in order to engage in illicit sexual conduct with boys who were 10 and 12 years old.
Paul Charles Wilkins, 70, of Littleport in East Cambridgeshire, England, who had dual United States-United Kingdom citizenship, was charged today with one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of attempted sex trafficking of children.
While the first count of the indictment relates to Wilkins travel to the United States to allegedly have sex with two pre-teen boys, the attempted sex trafficking charge stems from a deal he allegedly brokered with an undercover investigator in which Wilkins allegedly paid $250 to have sex with a 9-year-old boy at an apartment he had rented in Palm Springs.
“My office is committed to protecting children from predators – whether the predators are foreign or domestic,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “When this defendant's original plan was thwarted, he made other arrangements to sexually abuse a child. He must be held accountable for these crimes.”
Wilkins was arrested on February 11 at his rented apartment after paying the money to an undercover operative. He was charged in a criminal complaint that remains under seal and was ordered held without bond. Wilkins is scheduled to be arraigned in United States District Court on March 4.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
The charge of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years.
The charge of attempted sex trafficking of children carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and statutory maximum penalty of life without parole.
The investigation into Wilkins was conducted by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
“This case serves as a strong reminder that the abuse of children in the U.S. by citizens of any country is an unconscionable crime that will not be tolerated,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “Pedophiles who mistakenly believe they can escape detection by traveling to countries other than their own to commit child sex crimes should be on notice that HSI will use all the resources at its disposal to combat this reprehensible behavior and seek justice for the victims.”
USAO – California, Central Project Safe Childhood Updated February 24, 2016
Central District of California DOJ / 16-034 / February 23, 2016