A British man who traveled to Palm Springs to engage in sexual conduct with brothers who were 10 and 12 years old was sentenced Wednesday in Los Angeles to 13 years in federal prison.
Paul Wilkins, 70, of Littleport in East Cambridgeshire, England, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee to pay a $25,000 criminal fine and a $5,000 special assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.
Following the completion of his prison term, Wilkins will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.
Wilkins pleaded guilty last year to one federal count of transportation of child pornography. He was arrested by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at a rented apartment in Palm Springs on Feb. 11.
Wilkins, who had dual U.S.-United Kingdom citizenship, was indicted on charges of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempted sex trafficking of children, transportation of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
He admitted that he traveled to the United States in January 2016 for the purpose of having sex with the boys, and that the following month, he attempted to solicit a 9-year-old boy for sex in exchange for $250.
In addition, Wilkins admitted he possessed child pornography on his computer and brought child porn from the United Kingdom into the United States, including graphic sexual images of boys between the ages of 5 and 8.
Under a plea agreement, he agreed to the 13-year imprisonment and a lifetime of supervised release.
“This defendant persistently engaged in the sexual exploitation of children,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker.
“He was the administrator of an online group used by men to discuss their sexual interest in children, he traveled to the United States to have sex with two young boys, and he made arrangements with undercover agents to have sex with another young boy,” she said. “Today’s sentence ensures that children will be protected from his abhorrent conduct for many years.”
Wilkins was sentenced for porn by an English court in 2011 and was on probation when he came to the United States.
“Given his age, this prison term virtually assures the defendant will not be a sexual threat to young people again,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles.
“This sentence should also serve as a sobering reminder to pedophiles who wrongly believe they can outrun the law and indulge their perverse desires by buying an airline ticket and boarding a plane,” Macias said.
—City News Service