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Press Release

Former FSU Engineering Student Sentenced To 18 Years In Federal Prison For Sexual Exploitation Of Children and Receipt Of Child Pornography

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

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Sean Kurt Paolo Macalacad, 24, of Tallahassee, Florida, was sentenced to eighteen years in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of children and one count of receipt of child pornography. The sentence was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

“There is no greater charge than the protection of our children,” said U.S. Attorney Coody. “This sentence is yet another example of the unwavering commitment to the protection of our most vulnerable and should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would attempt to harm them. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who engage in such heinous conduct.”

Plea documents reflect that law enforcement officers received Cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that a user of a social media account had transmitted five files constituting child pornography. The subsequent investigation revealed that the account was Macalacad’s, an engineering student at Florida State University. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers obtained search warrants for two of Macalacad’s cell phones. An examination of the first phone’s contents confirmed that Macalacad was in possession of multiple child pornography images and videos with victims as young as 6 months of age. Additionally, the first phone contained evidence that Macalacad was engaged in sexually explicit chats with a 15-year-old boy through another social media application. During those chats, Macalacad misrepresented his age by claiming to be younger and requested the minor to send sexually explicit photographs of himself. The search of the second phone revealed that it contained additional child pornography videos, and that it had been used to contact two 17-year-old boys through a social media application and obtain sexually explicit photographs of them.

“The conviction of Macalacad for possession and distribution of child sexual abuse material is a solemn reminder of the profound harm inflicted upon innocent lives,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tallahassee Assistant Special Agent in Charge Nicholas Ingegno. “It underscores our collective duty, alongside partners at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, to safeguard the most vulnerable among us and to ensure that those who exploit and victimize children are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Justice has been served, but our commitment to protecting children remains steadfast.”

Macalacad’s prison sentence will be followed by lifetime supervised release, and he will be required to register as a sex offender and will be subject to all sex offender conditions. The Court ordered forfeiture of electronic devices used in the commission of the offenses, including two the cell phones.

This conviction was the result of a joint investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Justin M. Keen 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 United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit


United States Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida
(850) 216-3845
X: @NDFLnews

Updated May 15, 2024

Project Safe Childhood