CALIFORNIA – A US federal grand jury has indicted 69-year-old Paul Alan Shapiro on charges of traveling to Pattaya Thailand to have sex with underage boys, officials said.
Paul Alan Shapiro is accused of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places and sex trafficking of a minor, U.S. Department of Justice officials said in a written statement.
Wednesdayâ€™s court activity was a superseding indictment, replacing one originally filed in April of 2015, officials said.
â€œAccording to the indictment, in February 2012, Shapiro traveled to Pattaya Thailand, where Shapiro paid minors as young as 13 years old to engage in various sex acts with them,â€ according to the DOJ statement. â€œ Shapiro also allegedly took photographs of himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the boys.â€
According the Thai newspaper, Pattaya Mail, Shapiro was arrested in Thailand in 2012 after being allegedly caught in the midst of a lewd act with a 13-year-old boy in a mall restroom.
He told investigatorâ€™s heâ€™d purchased the services of the boy for 300 baht, or about $8.50, the Pattaya Mail reported at the time.
Shapiro received a royal pardon in Thailand last year so that he could be deported back to the United States to face charges, according to the newspaper.
â€œChild predators cannot flee the United States in the hope of having a safe haven for their criminal conduct,â€ United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. â€œTo protect the most vulnerable among us, my office will pursue Americans who seek to exploit children in other countries.â€
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcementâ€™s Homeland Security Investigations officials are handling the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by the DOJ Criminal Divisionsâ€™s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, as part of Project Safe Childhood.
Shapiro remained in federal custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, according to inmate records.
Shapiro has been held without bail since he was taken into U.S. custody last July, U.S. DOJ spokesman Thom Mrozek said.
Information regarding his next court appearance was not available Wednesday.
â€œThis indictment should serve as a warning to sexual predators who mistakenly believe they can escape justice by exploiting children overseas,â€ Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles said. â€œThere is no tolerance for the sexual abuse of foreign children by our citizens, and HSI will work closely with our law enforcement counterparts throughout the world to ensure these criminals face justice.â€
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