News and Press Releases

Canadian Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Traveling To U.S. For Sex With A Minor

March 8, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Richmond, Ontario, Canada, has been sentenced in federal court in Pittsburgh to 126 months in prison, followed by ten years of supervised release, for traveling with the intent to engage in illegal sex with a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry imposed the sentence on Paul Maher, 60, a Canadian citizen.

According to information presented to the court, 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, Penn., for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with the 14‑year‑old.  In chats, Maher detailed his intention to deliver a web camera 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.

Prior to imposing sentencing, Judge McVerry noted the defendant's employment as an Ottawa police officer for 14 years. He commented that the defendant "drove 586 miles" and "endeavored to entice and corrupt a minor to give up her virginity."  He called the defendant's conduct "depraved and vile," and said he was "a sexual predator," who presented a "clear danger to the community."

Assistant United States Attorney Soo C. Song prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Mount Pleasant Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Maher.

This case was brought as part of 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.

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