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Surrey, January 15 (CINEWS): Kuldip “Kelly” Singh Mahal, 47, of Surrey pleaded guilty on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a federal sex crime.
U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes said that Mahal was arrested in February 2015 at a park in Burlington, Washington, where he was expecting to meet a 12-year-old girl whom he believed he had enticed into having sexual contact
He believed he had been corresponding with a 12-year-old girl, but in fact he sent multiple sexually explicit messages and photos to an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Under the terms of the plea agreement both sides will recommend a sentence between 78 and 108 months in prison, but U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik is not bound by those recommendations and can impose any sentence up the maximum of 30 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for April 1.
According to the plea agreement and other records filed in the case, Mahal responded to a posting on the Internet in January 2015. He sent a picture of his arms and upper body, and expressed interest in a sexual relationship.
He continued to communicate with the undercover agent even after the agent claimed she was 12 years old. In fact, Mahal sent sexually explicit photos of himself and repeatedly requested the “girl” send sexually explicit photos of herself back to him. Mahal engaged in lengthy sexualized chats via text message with the “girl.”
He crossed the border from Canada into the U.S. at Blaine, Washington, and was arrested at the park where he thought he was going to meet the “girl” and have sex.
He was employed as a facilities manager for a Vancouver tech firm and was a volunteer coach for a U-16 soccer team in British Columbia.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Mahal will undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation before sentencing. Based on the results prosecutors could recommend up to lifetime supervision for Mahal. Mahal will also be required to register as a sex offender.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Vaughan.