Australia

Australian rugby player Michael Quinn admits US child sex charge

Michael Quinn Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Michael Quinn believed he would be introduced to a six-year-old boy

Australian amateur rugby union player and scientist Michael Quinn has pleaded guilty to travelling to the US to have sexual conduct with a child.

Quinn, 33 and a player with the Melbourne Chargers, arrived in the US on 19 May and believed he had made contact with child traffickers in LA.

Instead he was arrested on 21 May after giving $250 ($A335; £190) to undercover agents he believed would give him access to a six-year-old boy.

He faces up to 13 years in prison.

Quinn had told the agents he was unknowingly speaking to online that he was interested in boys aged between five and 10.

He was promised a party at an LA hotel with "like-minded men", but it was actually a sting operation.

US Attorney Eileen M Decker told reporters that officials had been "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."

As well as playing rugby, Quinn also worked as geneticist at a clinic in Melbourne.

US officials said his rugby team had had no knowledge of his activities.

He will be sentenced on 3 October.