A Melbourne man arrested and charged after he allegedly travelled to Los Angeles to purchase a six-year-old boy for sex, has been sentenced in the US.
*TRIGGER WARNING – disturbing content
Update 1 November
Michael Quinn wept in court when he was sentenced to 12 years’ jail by a Los Angeles judge.
Quinn cried throughout his sentencing told US District Court Judge John Walter it was the first time he had attempted to prey on a child, reports 7 news.
“If you give me a second chance I won’t let you down,” Quinn said.
Judge Walter showed little leniency, sentencing Quinn to the maximum term the prosecutors had asked for.
Quinn’s lawyer had asked for 10 years.
The veteran judge described Quinn’s desire to attend what Quinn believed was a pedophile party at an LA hotel room and pay a pimp to allow him to rape a young boy as “absolutely disgusting”, “ghastly” and “despicable”.
His lawyer, Lisa Shinar LaBarre, said Quinn’s severe addiction to methamphetamine had altered his thinking and created psychotic thoughts.
Quinn had also claimed to have been abused as a child.
The court heard a psychologist who examined Quinn in jail concluded it was unlikely he would reoffend.
Judge Walter said he was not “overly impressed” by the doctor’s report, noting Quinn did not undergo standard testing for pedophilia.
“It upsets me so much that I could be capable of harming a child,” Quinn, dressed in a white prison jumpsuit, told the judge.
Quinn also apologised to Australia for “damaging its reputation” and told the court “I never want to put a child in danger again”.
Judge Walter said he did not “buy” the cause and effect of Quinn’s drug addiction and the abuse he suffered as a child.
“The defendant had every intention of raping a boy,” the judge said.
Assistant US lawyer Joey Blach wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed to the court: “Despite the friendly congenial mask [the] defendant showed to the world, [the] defendant lived a secret life online”.
Police said they found child pornography on his phone and also seized a meth pipe.
Previously on this story…
9 News reports, Michael Quinn, 33, was arrested by special agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations team, US Attorney for the Central District of California Eileen Decker said.
The Melbourne man is a Monash University-educated geneticist who works at Australia’s largest fertility clinic in Melbourne, reports The Daily Mail.
He was charged with “travelling to the US for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and attempted sex trafficking of a minor”, Ms Decker said in a statement.
According to an affidavit, US special agents launched an investigation into Mr Quinn earlier this month, after undercover agents met him “on a social networking site that caters to individuals with a sexual interest in children”.
Mr Quinn allegedly told agents he wanted to “meet up with a dad who shares his young ones” in Los Angeles.
He allegedly said he wanted to meet “other pervs” and agreed to pay US$250 (approximately AU$350) for a young boy with whom he planned to have sex.
On Saturday, he went to a hotel expecting to meet three fellow child sex predators for a party involving sex with young boys, the affidavit alleged.
He instead met three agents posing as predators, and was arrested after he paid a fourth undercover agent for the children.
Ms Decker has slammed the “child sex tourism industry” and warned that predators would be caught.
“Predators who travel overseas to sexually exploit children do not just victimize children in faraway lands,” she said in a statement.
“As this case shows, children everywhere are vulnerable to such predators, including children right here in Los Angeles.
“The Internet has helped to enable the child sex tourism industry by making the world a smaller place, but this case, and others like it by my office, show that such international predators can and will be brought to justice.”
Joseph Macias, the special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, echoed Ms Decker’s concern and warning.
“Millions of tourists flock to Los Angeles every year for all this city has to offer, but if you’re coming here to sexually exploit children, expect to be met by law enforcement, not a welcome mat,” he said.
“As this case vividly illustrates, the advent of the Internet means youth are now vulnerable to exploitation by sexual predators not just around the corner, but around the globe.
“Paedophiles should be on notice, HSI and its law enforcement partners are using all of the resources at our disposal to combat this reprehensible behaviour and hold the perpetrators responsible for their crimes.”
Traveling with the intent of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
Share your comments below.