From the Office of the District Attorney:
Martinez, Calif. – On Thursday May 21, 2020, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office charged 40-year-old Clayton resident Daniel Steven Paul with multiple violations including attempted lewd acts with a minor, unlawful communications with a minor and arranging to meet a minor for sex.
In early May, investigators from the County’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force learned Paul had been the subject of an investigation in a foreign country, in which Paul distributed harmful material to a person he believed to be a minor. The investigation led agents to begin talking with Paul via text message and soon after making contact with him, Paul began to attempt to entice what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl into meeting with him for sex.
On May 20, 2020, Paul went to Hidden Lakes Park in Martinez with the intention of engaging in sex acts with a minor. He was taken into custody and booked at the Martinez Detention Facility. A search of his vehicle revealed he brought condoms and alcohol to the meeting.
Paul remains in the custody of the Contra Costa County Sheriff. His bail is currently set at $250,000. Paul will make his first court appearance in Superior Court on May 22, 2020.
This investigation was conducted by the multi-agency Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Martinez, San Ramon, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Contra Costa County Probation Department, and Inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force.
Since the COVID-19 Shelter in Place order went into effect, law enforcement from around the United States have noted a significant increase in the number on online child exploitation reports. Many of these cases involve adult suspects grooming minors into taking explicit images of themselves. Parents are encouraged to be on heightened alert for this behavior and take steps to both monitor their child’s online activity and having candid conversations with their children about the dangers of smartphone use.