Retired High School Teacher Charged with Attempting to Engage in Illicit Sex with a Minor
Project Safe Childhood
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a retired high school teacher in Sedalia, Mo., was charged in federal court today with arranging to meet a woman and her 14-year-old daughter (actually an undercover law enforcement officer) for illicit sexual activity.
Paul Robert Cannon, 71, of Sedalia, Mo., was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., with attempting to induce a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity. Cannon was arrested today and remains in federal custody pending an initial court appearance on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.
According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s federal criminal complaint, Cannon posted an advertisement on Craigslist on Jan. 18, 2016, entitled “Grandpa looking for a couple with kids.” The posting read, “Grandpa looking for a couple that would like to include their kids in sexual fun. White man, very discreet, very safe, retired teacher, and well endowed. Age and race are not an issue.”
On Jan. 21, 2016, a detective with the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department responded to the Craigslist advertisement, portraying himself as a single mother with a 14-year-old daughter. Over the next six days, the affidavit says, the detective exchanged numerous e-mails with Cannon. In these exchanges, Cannon allegedly described various sex acts he intended to perform with the minor daughter. He also allegedly offered to have sex with both the mother and minor daughter together and said he was looking for “a continuing relationship.” The detective also exchanged numerous texts with Cannon, the affidavit says, in which Cannon described various sex acts he intended to perform with the minor daughter.
The undercover detective arranged to meet Cannon at a Columbia, Mo., restaurant this afternoon. Cannon offered to buy lunch for the mother and daughter, the affidavit says, before going to their residence for a sexual rendezvous. When Cannon arrived at the restaurant, he was redirected to another nearby restaurant, where he was arrested.
Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the FBI and the Boone County Cyber Crimes Task Force.
Project Safe Childhood
This case was 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.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."