California man gets 17 years in prison for child sex tourism

California man gets 17 years in prison for child sex tourism

A Los Angeles-area man accused of trying to set up sexual encounters with children as young as 8 in Tijuana was sentenced Monday to 17½ years in prison.

In his plea agreement, Kenneth Bigler, 53, of Walnut admitted to having sexual contact with girls 14 to 16 years old, but in numerous communications with a sex broker had asked for children much younger, according to court records.

Bigler also filmed some sexual encounters with a girl he believed was under 16 and then brought that footage into the U.S., according to his plea.

As part of his guilty plea to one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child, he agreed to register as a sex offender. U.S. District Judge John Houston on Monday also requested Bigler be housed at a prison with a sex offender treatment program and ordered him to 10 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence.

Bigler, who was working for a Los Angeles moving company, began communicating with the unnamed broker in 2013, asking to set him up with young children for sex, according to a search warrant affidavit detailing the communications.

In one instance, he asked for a smaller and younger girl than he’d had sex with the other night, hoping for a 10-year-old but “NO MORE” than 12, according to the messages retrieved by the FBI. Another time he asked for “an 8 or 9.”

Later, he demanded a boy or girl who’d never had sexual contact before, encouraging the broker to steal them if he had to, the records said. “Want them both tomorrow night,” read a September 2015 message.

Border crossing records show Bigler traveled to Tijuana frequently, and that the messages roughly corresponded to cross-border trips, authorities said.

Bigler was also accused of bragging in messages to the broker about how easy and cheap it was to buy kids for sex in Thailand, according to the court records.

The FBI investigation began in December 2016 after a U.S. citizen reported the sex broker.

Bigler was arrested in August 2017 — about four months after his last recorded trip to Mexico, according to federal records.

Bigler’s criminal record includes multiple convictions for indecent exposure, including one incident involving a minor, prosecutors have noted.

In an earlier request for bail, his defense lawyer said Bigler admitted he was abusing alcohol at the time of the offense and it had affected his judgement.

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