JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – 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.READ MORE: Brittney Griner Appears In Russian Court On Drug Smuggling Charges
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.READ MORE: Florida Judge Says 15-Week Abortion Law In Florida Is Unconstitutional
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.MORE NEWS: Florida Judge Allows Lawsuit Filed By Gabby Petito's Parents Against Brian Laundrie's Parents To Move Forward
“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.”