Littleport man, 70, who travelled 5,500 miles to allegedly have sex with boy of 9 facing up to 30 years in jail if found guilty
- Credit: Archant
A Littleport man who was previously charged with travelling to America to have sex with pre-teen boys and attempted sex trafficking of children is also to face child pornography charges.
Paul Charles Wilkins, 70, a dual citizen of the United States and United Kingdom, was named in an indictment that now includes charges of transporting and possessing child pornography.
The charges stem from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“Child predators – whether foreign or domestic – threaten the most vulnerable members of society, which is why we devote considerable resources to stopping them,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker.
“The new indictment adds additional charges that more fully reflect the totality of this defendant’s conduct and could subject him to a longer prison term.”
Robert Goetsch, acting special agent in charge for HIS Los Angeles, said: “Paedophiles in the United States, or anywhere in the world, who believe they can escape the detection of law enforcement by travelling to another county to commit heinous crimes against children should take note.
“HSI and its law enforcement partners around the globe will pursue those criminals who subject children to this torment and bring them to justice by using every tool at our disposal.”
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The charge of travelling 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 two child pornography charges each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years, and the transportation count carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.
Wilkins allegedly 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.
While the first count of the indictment relates to Wilkins’ travel to the U.S. to allegedly have sex with two pre-teen boys, the attempted sex trafficking charge stems from a deal the defendant allegedly brokered with an undercover investigator in which he paid $250 to have sex with a 9-year-old boy at an apartment he had rented in Palm Springs.
The child pornography counts relate to images found on a laptop computer and a digital storage device that were seized when Wilkins was arrested on February 11 at his rented apartment after allegedly paying the money to the undercover operative.
Wilkins is currently scheduled to go on trial before U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee on July 19.
(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.)