British man previously charged with coming to US to have sex with pre-teen boys now faces child pornography offenses
LOS ANGELES – A British man who was previously charged with travelling to the Coachella Valley to have sex with pre-teen boys was named Friday in a superseding indictment that adds child pornography charges.
Paul Charles Wilkins, 70, of Littleport in East Cambridgeshire, England, a dual citizen of the United States and United Kingdom, was named in a four-count superseding 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).
The indictment handed down Friday reiterates charges contained in the original indictment filed in February – traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and attempted sex trafficking of children.
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 Feb. 11 at his rented apartment after allegedly paying the money to the undercover operative.
“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.”
Wilkins, who has been ordered held without bond, is currently scheduled to go on trial before U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee 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.
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 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.