A Seattle judge on Monday ordered Kuldip Singh Mahal to remain in U.S. custody until his trial. He appears not to trust the Canadian justice system to monitor Mahal.
Mahal’s next court appearance is February 18.
KULDIP “Kelly” Singh Mahal, 47, of Surrey was arrested February 3 at a park in Burlington, Washington, where he was expecting to meet a 12-year-old girl whom he had tried to entice into having sexual contact with him, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes on February 4.
Mahal responded to a Craigslist posting and began communicating with what he believed to be a 12-year-old girl. 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).
Mahal, who works as a facilities manager for a Vancouver, B.C. tech firm, crossed the border into the U.S. at Blaine on February 3 and headed toward the park where he had agreed to meet the girl. Mahal is a volunteer coach for a U-16 soccer team in British Columbia. He made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle Wednesday and will remain detained pending a hearing on Monday, February 9.
(According to www.linkedin.com, a Kuldip (Kelly) Mahal is “Sr. Manager, Facilities Operations, Journeyman Electrician, 4th class power engineer at QLT Inc.” Vancouver, Canada Area / Facilities Services. Current: Manager, Facilities Operations at QLT INC. Past: Electrician / Assitant Foreman at Nightingale Electrical Ltd. Education: British Columbia Institute of Technology)
“Homeland Security Investigation agents work hard each day to keep our country, and in this case our children, safe from those who would do them harm,” said Hayes. “I am grateful for their hard work in this case.”
According to the complaint filed in the case, Mahal responded to a posting on the Vancouver, B.C. Craigslist site on January 15. Mahal sent a picture of his arms and upper body, and expressed interest in a sexual relationship. Mahal continued to communicate with the undercover agent even after the agent said she was 12 years old. In fact Mahal is alleged to have sent sexually explicit photos of himself and repeatedly requested the “girl” send sexually explicit photos of herself back to him. Mahal allegedly engaged in lengthy sexualized chats via text message with the “girl.”
(According to CBC: “According to court documents, an ad was placed in the “casual encounters” section of the Vancouver personals entitled “Crazy and very young.”
“The text of the ad read, “I’m a bit young and I want to learn some new things. I have never experienced the things I want to, I am real and live in Burlington, Wash. I like to go to outlet stores at Tulalip!!”
“The document alleges the ad was answered by a person using an anonymous Craigslist email identifying himself as “Jumbo Smith,” who, investigators allege, they later identified as Mahal.”)
“In three weeks’ time, the defendant went from responding to an online posting to traveling from Canada to Washington State to meet a minor for illicit sex,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle. “Fortunately, he was actually communicating with an undercover HSI special agent. Individuals who cross international borders to sexually abuse children, whether they are Americans traveling overseas or foreigners traveling to the U.S., are within HSI’s jurisdiction and will be held to account for their crimes.”
Enticement of a minor is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and up to life.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Vaughan. Vaughan heads up the Project Safe Childhood efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Surrey United Soccer club told the media later on Wednesday that it had suspended Mahal.
Executive Director Martin Foden said that Mahal, who had gone through a criminal record check, had been an exemplary coach for 11 years.
The club said it would meet with parents of the kids that Mahal coached.
If you have any photo of Mahal or more info on him, please email to [email protected]