From the Office of the District Attorney:
Martinez, Calif. – Today, 41-year-old Clayton resident Daniel Paul pleaded guilty to unlawfully communicating with a minor for the purposes of engaging in sex, in violation of California Penal Code section 288.3(a). Pursuant to the plea agreement before the Honorable John Cope, Paul was sentenced to 120 days in county jail, probation and will be required to register as a sex offender.
In early May 2020, 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 contacting 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.
The case was prosecuted by deputy district attorneys Adam Wilks and Chris Sansoe. The investigation was conducted by the multi-agency Silicon Valley 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, Brentwood, San Pablo 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 senior inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force.
The Silicon Valley ICAC task force would like to thank the National Child Exploitation Crime Centre of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Homeland Security Investigations Office in Ottawa, Canada for their assistance with this investigation.
Since the COVID-19 Shelter in Place order went into effect, law enforcement from around the United States has noted a significant increase in the number of 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 to both monitor their child’s online activity and to have candid conversations with their children about the dangers of smartphone use.
Parents seeking additional resources can visit www.kidsmartz.org<http://www.kidsmartz.org> or the website for the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at www.svicac.org<http://www.svicac.org>. Reports of illegal activity involving minor victims on the internet should be reported at once to your local police department.