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Australian man on child sex charges in the US pleads guilty in LA court

An Australian geneticist has pleaded guilty to travelling to the United States to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a six-year-old boy.

Michael Quinn, who is from Melbourne, was arrested on May 21 by special agents with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) when he arrived at a Los Angeles-area hotel to buy a six-year-old boy for sex.

He was travelling with teammates from the Melbourne Chargers who were to play in a rugby tournament in Nashville.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty before United States District Judge John F Walter.

“Mr Quinn travelled to the United States to have sex with a young child,” US Attorney Eileen M Decker said.

“Fortunately, law enforcement was able to ensure that no child was put in harm’s way and that Mr Quinn would face severe consequences for his conduct.

“He admitted to that in court and there’s really nothing else to say [other] than this is reprehensible conduct to take advantage of young children in such a horrendous way.”

Quinn hoping to meet ‘other pervs’

The investigation began in May 2016 after undercover agents met Quinn on a social networking site that caters to individuals with a sexual interest in children, according to documents filed in the case.

Quinn admitted during Thursday’s hearing that he told undercover agents he was travelling to LA 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 US.

Quinn went to the US to play rugby. Source: Facebook

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 LA, he was arrested after paying another undercover agent $260.

Ms Decker said a probation officer would write a report for the judge who would then decide whether or not to accept the agreed sentencing deal of between 10 and 13 years in a federal jail.

"Of course all sentencing matters are up to the judge for him to evaluate all the factors but that is what we agreed to in our plea agreement," she said.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 3.

Ms Decker said it was hoped the case would have a "significant deterrent value".

"When we charge these cases, we of course are hoping that the word gets out that we are taking these matters very seriously," she said.

"That we will prosecute, that the FBI is actively seeking to find individuals who are trying to take advantage of young children and that the consequences when you go to court are quite severe."

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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