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Press Release

Virginia Man Sentenced To Over Eleven Years In Federal Prison For Attempting To Entice A Child To Engage In Sexual Activity

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Wendy W. Berger has sentenced Peter Papuchis (43, Norfolk, VA) to 11 years and 3 months in federal prison for attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity. Papuchis was also ordered to serve a 20-year term of supervised release after his release from prison and register as a sex offender. Papuchis entered a guilty plea on February 21, 2024. He has been in federal custody since his arrest on May 4, 2023.

According to court documents, on April 15, 2023, a federal agent using an undercover persona began conducting an online undercover operation. The agent was using a free mobile application that permits individual users to meet online, engage in conversation through private messages, and share photographs and videos.  The agent was using the persona of the parent of an 11-year-old girl. In his undercover capacity as a “parent” of the “minor child,” the agent posted a message within the group that Papuchis responded to privately. Papuchis told the undercover agent, “I’m a perv with pedo tendencies.” The “parent” exchanged several private messages with him on this same day and continued until April 22, 2023. The same day, Papuchis provided his username on another chat application, and they then began messaging on that application until April 23, 2023. During their chat conversation, Papuchis detailed his interest in meeting the “minor child” of the “parent” and engaging in sexual activity with the “minor child.” On April 23, 2023, Papuchis traveled to meet the “parent” of the “minor child” in St. Johns County.  He was arrested after arriving at the predetermined meeting location and admitted to engaging in the chat conversations with the “parent” of the child and planning to engage in sexual activity with the “child.”

This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.

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

Updated June 20, 2024

Project Safe Childhood