WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A former Texas elementary school principal was arrested Friday for enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Boynton Beach Police Department and the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
According to court documents, Stephen Anthony Paulsen, 54, of Fort Worth, used an online social networking application to contact and attempt to meet an individual he believed was a 15-year-old boy for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. When he committed this crime, he was employed as an elementary school principal in Arlington. The individual he contacted was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, posing as a minor. After several sexually suggestive conversations, Paulsen attempted to meet the child who he believed was home alone in south Florida. At the time of his arrest, Paulsen was in Florida visiting family. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.