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Press Release

Missouri Man Who Fled to Asia During Child Pornography Investigation Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge John A. Ross on Wednesday sentenced a man who fled to Asia after his arrest during a child pornography investigation to seven years in prison.

Dominic J. Pavia, now 42, pleaded guilty in November to one count of possession of child pornography. He admitted as part of his plea that on Dec. 10, 2010, an investigation by the Saint Louis County Police Department's Special Investigations Unit identified a computer being used to store child sexual abuse material. During an April 26, 2011, court-approved search, detectives seized computer equipment and Pavia, a law school student, was arrested. A scan revealed child pornography on the computer. 

Pavia, who was living in University City at the time, left the country, knowing that criminal charges were a possibility, according to his plea agreement. 

On March 4, 2014, detectives performed a full forensic analysis of the computer, finding 4,641 images and 1,719 videos containing child pornography. Pavia was indicted on Nov. 19, 2014. 

After leaving the U.S., Pavia traveled to China, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. He was unable to renew his visa in China in the summer of 2022 and his passport was set to expire in September 2023, according to court records. He returned to the United States in January 2023. 

The St. Louis County Police Department and the FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins prosecuted the case.

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 Department of Justice Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated February 21, 2024

Project Safe Childhood