Former Elementary School Principal in Texas Found Guilty for Attempting to Entice a Minor to Engage in Unlawful Sexual Activity
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Dave Aronberg, State Attorney, Office of the State Attorney for Palm Beach County, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), and Jeffrey S. Katz, Chief, Boynton Beach Police Department (BBPD), announce that Stephen Anthony Paulsen, 54, of Fort Worth, Texas, was convicted yesterday of attempting to entice a minor to engage in an illegal sexual activity, after a four day jury trial before U.S. Senior District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley. At sentencing, the defendant faces a 10 year mandatory term in prison and a maximum term of life.
In July 2013, Paulsen sent numerous sexually explicit messages via a web-based social media application to an undercover officer who posed as 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.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “This conviction represents the fruits of a cooperative effort by local, state and federal authorities in the investigation and prosecution of child exploitation cases. During this time when our children are at ever increasing risk from predators who use social media and the internet, I am thankful to Dave Aronberg and the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office for joining forces in the cross designation of state prosecutors to attack the problem.”
State Attorney Dave Aronberg commented, “This case is an example of our continued close working relationship with local, state and federal authorities. This combined effort will help remove these sexual predators from our community and make our county and state a safer place to live.”
“Homeland Security Investigations is committed to stopping child predators and their elicit behaviors, especially those individuals in positions of trust with access to children” said Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Miami. “This case is another example of the extraordinary collaborative efforts among law enforcement in Florida to protect those who can’t protect themselves”.
Chief Jeffrey Katz of the Boynton Beach Police Department added, “One of the primary objectives of the Boynton Beach Police Department is the protection of our community's youth. The Boynton Beach Police Department - in cooperation with our valued federal law enforcement and prosecutorial partners - have taken important steps to protect our children from those who seek to shamelessly exploit their innocence. We remain committed to similar operations going forward.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Project Safe Childhood was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice and is led by United States Attorney’s 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 and Mr. Aronberg commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and the Boynton Beach Police Department. This case was adopted from state prosecution in cooperation with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office and the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam McMichael and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and Assistant State Attorney Gregory Schiller.
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.