Jacksonville Man Sentenced To 10 Years For Using Facebook To Attempt To Entice 14-Year-Old Child To Engage In Sexual Activity

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woman texting

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Michael Jonathan Paul (50, Jacksonville) to 10 years in federal prison for attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity. Paul was also ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender. 

Paul had pleaded guilty on April 26, 2021.

According to the plea agreement, between May 28 and July 28, 2020, Paul used Facebook Messenger to engage in a series of online conversations with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old child. Unbeknownst to Paul, this “child” was an undercover detective from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. During these online conversations, Paul discussed his desire to engage in sexual activity with the “child” when they met in person and told the “child” the different ways that he had planned to sexually abuse her. Paul also told the “child” to delete her online conversations.

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On August 21, 2021, Paul was arrested, and during an interview with law enforcement, admitted “talking to some little girl on the phone,” and stated, “I shouldn’t have … did it.”


This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.

“Thanks to the outstanding work by HSI special agents and our partners with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office this online predator was stopped in his tracks while attempting to victimize a young child,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “After a successful prosecution and sentencing, this predator will now be held accountable for his crimes.”

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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 www.justice.gov/psc.

 

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