Toronto, Feb 5
An Indo-Canadian soccer coach has been arrested in the US, and has been charged with seeking sex with a 12-year-old girl who turned out to be an undercover agent, media reported Thursday.
The US Attorney's Office says 47-year-old
Kuldip Singh Mahal of Surrey in Canadian province of British Columbia
was taken into custody after he went to a park in Burlington in the US
state of Washington, to meet the supposed girl, according to a CBC News
The man has made his first appearance in the US District Court in Seattle since being detained Tuesday and is expected to remain in detention pending a hearing next Monday.
The office said Mahal responded to a Craigslist posting before sending multiple sexually explicit messages and photos of himself to an underage girl.
He is accused of repeatedly asking the supposed girl to send him similar photos of herself -- even after the agent with Homeland Security Investigations allegedly said she was 12 years old.
Brad Bench, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, said Mahal travelled to Washington three weeks after responding to the ad.
Meanwhile, Martin Foden with the Surrey United Soccer Club said he was shocked by the allegations against Mahal.
"It's an appalling situation that these things happen in our community and whether or not, the fact that he's a soccer coach or just another member at large in the community, it's still very disheartening," Foden said.
Foden said the under-16 soccer coach has been suspended after 12 years of volunteer service.
"During that time there would have been a number of criminal record checks done on him and everything was always clean and we had no inclination."
There has been mixed reactions from parents with children playing for the club. Many of them say they will be having a tough discussion with their kids.
The Surrey United Soccer Club is offering counselling support to players and their families, if needed.