News and Press Releases

Former Elementary School Principal in Texas Arrested for Attempting to Entice a Minor to Engage in Unlawful Sexual Activity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), and Jeffrey S. Katz, Interim Chief, Boynton Beach Police Department (BBPD), announce the arrest of Stephen Anthony Paulsen, 54, of Fort Worth, Texas, for attempting to entice a minor to engage in an illegal sexual activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b). Paulsen had his initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Hopkins. The United States requested that Paulsen be detained and a Pretrial Detention hearing has been set for Tuesday, July 23, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. If convicted, the defendant faces a ten year mandatory term of imprisonment and a maximum term of life.

According to the criminal complaint, Paulsen sent numerous sexually explicit messages via a web-based social media application to an undercover officer who posed as a 15 year old boy. Paulsen then attempted to meet the minor to engage in illegal sexual activity when Paulsen believed the boy was home alone, at which point he was arrested. At the time of his arrest, Paulsen was in South Florida visiting family.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and BBPD. This case was adopted from the state in cooperation with Dave Aronberg, State Attorney, Palm Beach County, and the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam McMichael.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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