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Press Release

Three Time Child Pornography Possessor Pleads Guilty to Fourth Child Pornography Possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — David Elliott Paulsen, 61, pled guilty to his fourth federal offense of Possession of Child Pornography.

At the plea hearing, Paulsen admitted that within four months of his release from the Bureau of Prisons for a 2014 conviction for possession of child pornography, he possessed a contraband phone and child pornography. 

After his release from federal prison in March 2023, Paulsen was required to complete the remainder of his sentence at a residential reentry facility in Columbia. Paulsen admitted that on July 13, 2023, employees of the residential reentry center discovered a contraband phone in his room. Law enforcement searched the phone and discovered over 1,200 images containing child sex abuse material (CSAM) and at least one video. These CSAM images included adults sexually abusing children that were tied with ropes or duct tape.  Paulsen admitted that he kept these images in password protected cellphone applications and was downloading these images from the Dark Web. 

Paulsen has three prior federal convictions from 1993, 2004, and 2014 for possession of child pornography. He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to 20 years in federal prison. Paulsen, who was previously ordered detained, will remain detained until sentencing before United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson at the Matthew J. Perry Federal Courthouse in Columbia.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Columbia Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elle E. Klein is prosecuting the case. 



Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist,, (803) 929-3000

Updated November 2, 2023