Montrose man accused of traveling to Thailand for sex with boys

LOS ANGELES >> A federal grand jury indicted a 69-year-old Montrose man Wednesday on charges of traveling to 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.
Wednesday’s court activity was a superseding indictment, replacing one originally filed in April of 2015, officials said.
“According to the indictment, in February 2010, Shapiro traveled from Los Angeles to Thailand, where Shapiro paid minors as young as 14 years old small amounts of local currency in order to engage in various sex acts with them,” according to the DOJ statement. “ Shapiro also allegedly took photographs of himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the boys.”
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 investigator’s he’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.
“Child predators cannot flee the United States in the hope of having a safe haven for their criminal conduct,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “To protect the most vulnerable among us, my office will pursue Americans who seek to exploit children in other countries.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations officials are handling the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by the DOJ Criminal Divisions’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.
“This indictment should serve as a warning to sexual predators who mistakenly believe they can escape justice by exploiting children overseas,” Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles said. “There 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.”

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