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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 13, 2020

Jury Convicts Sexual Predator Of Soliciting Child Sex Abuse Videos Using A Cellphone

Jacksonville, Florida – A federal jury has found Paul Edward Lee, Jr. (40, Jacksonville) guilty of knowingly soliciting a minor to produce and send pornographic videos and images depicting sexual abuse of the minor. In 2011, Lee was convicted of lascivious molestation and exhibition of a child under 12 years old and, therefore, is required to register as a sexual predator. Because of this prior conviction, Lee faces an enhanced mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years, and up to, 50 years in federal prison, and a potential life term of supervised release in this case. Lee was arrested at his residence in Jacksonville on May 2, 2018. His sentencing hearing is set for July 6, 2020. 

According to evidence and testimony introduced at trial, a law enforcement officer in Illinois discovered that a 14-year-old child was having online contact with an adult male in Florida through a smart phone gaming application designed for use by children. The messages sent to the child by the adult male were increasingly graphic and sexual in nature. The FBI was able to identify this adult male as Paul Edward Lee, Jr., and discovered that Lee was a registered sexual predator living in Jacksonville.

On April 25, 2018, an FBI agent in Jacksonville posing as the minor child continued to engage with Lee through text messaging. During these communications, Lee told the “child” in graphic terms how he wanted to have sex with the child and sent several images and videos of his own genitalia to the child.  Two days later, Lee repeatedly texted and solicited the child to produce and send him graphic images and videos of the child’s genitalia. When FBI agents executed a search warrant at Lee’s residence on May 2, 2018, Lee attempted to destroy his cellular telephone in an effort to conceal evidence of his activity. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated March 13, 2020