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Press Release

San Antonio Man Sentenced to 60 Years for Abusing Special Needs Children

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

SAN ANTONIO – Today, 76-year-old Paul Charles Zappe III was sentenced to 60 years in prison for production of child pornography.

According to court documents, the San Antonio resident created photos and videos depicting prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Some of the media created by Zappe involved Zappe committing a variety of sexual acts on special needs children under the age of 12.

In addition to the prison sentence, Zappe was ordered to forfeit his house, car, electronic equipment and to pay each of the two victims $81,000.

On June 29, 2021, Zappe pleaded guilty to two counts of producing child pornography.

“The defendant’s egregious abuse of two young children targeted for their special needs is abhorrent,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff.  “The defendant preyed upon the most vulnerable in our society for his own sexual gratification.  He violated their trust and that of their parents.  Our communities cannot tolerate these types of child predators and we will continue to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.” 

“It is unconscionable that every day, criminals prey upon innocent children by sexually assaulting them and producing child pornography,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. “This case is all the more horrific because the subject harmed special needs children. The FBI is committed to finding perpetrators like this one that commit terrible crimes and seeking justice for all who have been victimized.”

The FBI investigated the case with assistance from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Thompson 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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


Updated September 30, 2021

Project Safe Childhood