LOS ANGELES – An Australian geneticist who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of traveling to Los Angeles to engage in criminal sexual conduct with a 6-year-old boy was sentenced Monday to 144 months in prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Michael Quinn, 33, of Melbourne, was sentenced Monday by United States District Judge John F. Walter.
“This defendant appeared to be a successful, well-liked professional – but he had a secret, online life in which he made clear his sexual interest in children,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker.
“This defendant thought he had arranged to rape a young child, but the vigilance of law enforcement spared any potential victims from being sexual abused.”
Quinn was arrested on May 21 by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) when he arrived at a Los Angeles-area hotel to buy a 6-year-old boy for sex.
According to documents filed in the case, the investigation began in May 2016 after undercover agents observed Quinn on a social networking site that caters to individuals with a sexual interest in children.
Quinn admitted that he told undercover agents he was traveling to Los Angeles and wanted to “meet up with a dad who shares his young ones.” Specifically, Quinn told the agents, whom he believed were like-minded people, that he was hoping to meet “other pervs” in the U.S.
Quinn ultimately agreed to pay a human trafficker $250 to provide him with a young boy with whom he could engage in illicit sex.
Once Quinn arrived in Los Angeles, he was arrested after paying another undercover agent $260. According to the plea agreement filed in this case, “a dominant purpose of his travel was to anally sodomize someone he knew was a 6-year-old boy.”
“This sentence should serve as a powerful deterrent to online child predators who mistakenly believe the internet and a plane ticket will enable them to act on their dark desires with impunity,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge of HSI Los Angeles.
“Pedophiles should be on notice, HSI and its law enforcement partners are using all of the resources at our disposal to combat this reprehensible behavior and hold the perpetrators responsible for their crimes.”
This case is a product of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative launched in 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, and HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators.