Canadian Admits Traveling To U.S. For Sex With A Minor
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Richmond, Ontario, Canada, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to traveling with the intent to engage in illegal sex with a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Paul Maher, 59, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Maher's arrest was the culmination of an undercover on‑line investigation by Mount Pleasant Police, that spanned several months. In the course of sexually explicit chat with an undercover officer posing as a 14 year‑old girl, Maher made plans to travel from outside Ottawa, Canada, to Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with the 14 year‑old. In chats, Maher detailed his intention to deliver a webcamera to the child, and take sexually explicit photographs of her. On June 27, 2008, Maher was surveilled in the area of Mount Pleasant, after driving to Pennsylvania from Canada. Maher claimed to have departed the area when he became suspicious that law enforcement was watching him, allegedly drawing upon his experience as former law enforcement in Canada. Maher was eventually arrested just across the Pennsylvania border, in New York.
Judge McVerry scheduled sentencing for Feb. 25, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court continued Maher's detention.
First Assistant United States Attorney Soo C. Song is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Mount Pleasant Police Department, together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
This case is being brought as part of the Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney's Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.