Hmm, so, bang to rights then

A Melbourne man visiting the US has entered a guilty plea after he was charged with travelling there to sexually assault a six-year-old boy.

Michael Quinn agreed to a plea deal in the US district court in Los Angeles on Wednesday that will sentence him to 10 to 13 years in a US prison.

I had earlier thought about entrapment. But, well, you know:

An undercover agent was perusing a social networking site catering to online groups who “expressed their sexual interest in children” when he found a post from Quinn, who went by “Mick” on the site. Quinn stated on the site he was travelling from Australia to Los Angeles. The agent started a conversation with Quinn and the Australian told how he was “looking for sex with children” and while “he liked both boys and girls, his favourite were boys, aged 5-10”.

“Would love to share one with you mate,” Quinn allegedly told the agent.

The agent set up a sting.

Two days after Quinn landed in Los Angeles and after he settled in with some team-mates at a Hollywood Hills home they had rented, Quinn snuck away. He caught an Uber to the hotel where the undercover agent had promised a child sex party with “like-minded men”. When Quinn arrived, the hotel room was prepped for the “party”, with the Cartoon Network on the TV and Toy Story-themed cupcakes to eat.

Quinn brought a camera and a monopod to record the day. After about 10 minutes in the room and a beer, an agent posing as a pimp turned up and announced: “Money time.”

“Quinn, clearly remembering the previous discussions where he had been told the price would be $US250 to sodomise the boy for approximately an hour, he pulled out his money and gave the pimp $US260,” ICE special agent Aaron McClellan wrote in the criminal complaint.

“After Quinn paid the pimp, law enforcement came into the room and arrested everyone.”

Quinn was originally charged with attempted sex trafficking of a minor, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life without parole, but that was dropped in the plea deal. The charge he pleaded guilty to – travelling to the US for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor – carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

I think I change my mind on that. You?

20 thoughts on “Hmm, so, bang to rights then”

  1. Should he have taken the plea bargain? The charge of “attempted sex trafficking of a minor” sounds hard to prove: especially as there was no minor. Not sure how the US system works though. If the prosecution loses the higher charge, can they still go for the lesser charge later?

    And yes, what a despicable little shit.

  2. No. This has similarities with the Tapping case and the NatWest3. The guilty plea as part of a plea bargain is an insidious part of US law. Foreign defendants in the US (whether extradited or not, as in the present case) plead guilty rather than sit in the US (inside or outside prison) for years waiting for their case to come to trial.

    Tapping was convicted of selling arms to Iran, although the arms (actually batteries) never existed and were thus never exported to Iran (the only actual offence applicable to non-US persons outside the US – what a non-US person does with Iran outside the US is beyond the scope of US law).

    Similarly, all this man did was pay $250 to US federal agents who had set him up. I don’t,t like the idea of what he had in mind, but I am not sure that I like the behaviour of the US officials any more.

  3. I think I change my mind on that. You?

    If the report is corroborated by a reliable source; ie, not the grauniad.

  4. Alex,
    “All this man did was pay $250… “. No – what he did was to travel to a specific location for a specific illegal purpose, and the paying over of the money is solid evidence of that purpose.

    I have no problem with jailing the guy, and I’ll even concede that some kid somewhere is not going to get unpleasantly buggered as a direct result, but it still makes me uneasy that the police can do things like this. It’s not entrapment, but it’s pretty close.

    Ends justifying means?

  5. I’d need to read the initial messages to call this one. If the agent led then it’s one thing, if the nonce led then it’s another. His history is also relevant.. but if it happened as told then I’m happy enough that the guy has been neutralised.

    People who have the urge but control it need to not be valid targets of officials willing to goad them into wanting to act on that urge.

    Incidentally.. are there any know examples of a sting like this where both parties turned up with a bunch of feds to grab the other. I like to think it’s happened.

  6. TTG,

    I really don’t have much problem either way. If someone asks you “would you like to give me $250 to rape a small boy” and you hand over $250, you’re a person who should be locked up. If you can’t control your impulses in that situation, you won’t when a real criminal does it.

  7. @Geoffers: “No – what he did was to travel to a specific location for a specific illegal purpose, and the paying over of the money is solid evidence of that purpose.”

    I’d quibble with that. He certainly had an intent (bad man, no sympathy etc), but I would question whether there was actually a valid “purpose”.. In most legal contexts, a purpose is something which is capable of having effect, which in this case does not.

    For example, I mistakenly buy a 1lb bar of unsalted butter as part of a mass-marketed scheme hated by the Murphmeister in the mistaken belief that this might lead to a reduction of my tax liabilities, but there is no reason that any anti-avoidance provisions would ever apply to that bar of butter because their is no conceivable tax-avoidance purpose even if it was my intention. Likewise, I could cut my losses and sell the butter to the Iranian army without any fear of running foul of arms export controls because there is no accepted military purpose for butter.

    Similarly, in the augmented reality case here, the Australian may have had certain intentions, but his purposes were always going to be frustrated because there was no child and the agents never intended to procure one. All he had was an unenforceable contract.

    If the Feds had walked in on a meeting with a real pimp, or if they could show that he had had similar meetings with real pimps or appointments for the same, I would say they would have a much stronger case, but all they have from the moment they first contacted the blocke in Australia is their own tale of deception.

    Having said that, would anyone want to wait 3 years on remand in a US prison and argue that case before a US court? Probably not. Easier to take the plea bargain with the shorter jail term and likely repatriation after a year or so.

  8. Who did he think was going to hold the monopod?
    And what was the sport and the name of the team?
    Questions, questions.

  9. The Inimitable Steve

    Jonathan – Ha! Guilty.

    I’d hang that Salon kiddy fiddler too. Whilst whistling “Bring Me Sunshine” and looking forward to my tea.

    Funny how you get more right wing as you get older.

  10. Regardless of the venom this duly warrants and the appropriate punishment applied, I can’t see how this could possibly be Quinn “sex trafficking”? The hypothetical child didn’t move?

    Unless this is one of the weird USian “over state lines” things?

    Or one of the even weirder and unwarranted extensions of the meaning of “trafficking”.

  11. Hmm, sounds a bit harsh. True, I didn’t actually read it all. But none of us are responsible for the impulses built into us. It’s the acting on them that we are responsible for. My taste for busty redheads is built in. My raping one is reprehensible.

    As his point seems to be that he’s attracted to children, knows that acting that out would be wrong and thus he doesn’t do it I’m rather in favour of his self control.

  12. I have a friend, an entirely upright chap, whose career would normally take him to the US from time to time. He goes to great lengths to avoid that country. He thinks the level of corruption – moral and financial – and the awfulness of the “criminal justice system”, makes that advisable.

    I observe that the agent in this story was from one of the federal police forces, a sister organisation to the federal police force that doesn’t want the traitor Hillary Clinton put on trial.

    Still, at least they’ve jailed the turd. Quinn, I mean, not Clinton.

  13. @ dearime

    A typical monopod:

    http://www.astroshop.eu/made-of-aluminium/manfrotto-390-monopod/p,17022

    As for corruption in the U.S., check out widespread asset forfeiture to American police:

    https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police-practices/asset-forfeiture-abuse

    Say you are driving your brother somewhere to buy a car he has found on eBay or Craigslist and the buyer has insisted on cash. You are pulled over for a faulty tail-light. The cop demands that you both get out of the car, frisks you and finds the money, which he then pockets – perfectly legally, because he will claim it has something to do with crime.

    This is the sort of society America has become. Best avoided, even if customs and immigration at U.S. airports didn’t treat you like scum.

    I don’t reckon much to this pervert’s future in an American jail. Probably serves him right, though America long ago lost any right to call itself a civilized country. Mind you, Britain is heading down the same path, with its officious council jobsworths and PCSOs making the law up as they go along.

  14. Alex calls it right.

    The bloke is a perv and if the Bluebottles had caught him visiting with purveyors of small kids then the book should have been thrown.

    The mess was clearly entrapment.

    In the old days NYC (70s) plod would dress as dossers and lie–seemingly drunk on the pavement (although they can lie from anywhere) with cash sticking out of their pocket.

    If some passing low life tried to appropriate the green then the lowlife would be arrested.

    Being cops they couldn’t leave well enough alone and had the bright idea of having another down-garbed plod nearby working as a mouthpiece .

    “Hey that drunks got cash sticking out his pocket–why don’t you go over and take it man–he’ll never know–there’s nobody around–why let a drunk waste that green when you can spend it” etc,etc.

    The courts ruled the latter to be entrapment. If a bloke was crook enough to take cash he saw in the street on his own initiative –his bad.

    Some copper re-inforcing the Devil on his left shoulder = entrapment.

    The Aussie perv may never have done a damn thing without the coppers meddling. If he acts on his own –roust him.

    Otherwise –as has been said above–an organisation that is powerless before an obvious massive crime family like the Clintons needs to be shut down as not fit for purpose. Never mind toying with weirds.

  15. In fairness he said no reasonable prosecutor would take the case, so basically they couldn’t find someone dumb enough to go through with a career ending, political suicide case against her.

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