LOS ANGELES — A Long Beach man who emceed children's dance contests nationwide is facing a minimum five-year prison term after pleading guilty in federal court Tuesday to receiving child pornography.
Paul Michael Barbour, 33, who previously worked for Cypress-based Kids Artistic Review (KAR), is scheduled to be sentenced October 20, 2014. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
The Long Beach man initially fell under suspicion in June after a digital video camera belonging to the defendant was discovered in a dressing room used by young girls taking part in a dance contest at Cypress College. Barbour was originally taken into custody June 1 by detectives with the Cypress Police Department on state charges filed by the Orange County District Attorney's Office accusing him of possession of child pornography and possession of a controlled substance.
On June 26, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint against Barbour charging him with a federal child pornography violation. The Orange County District Attorney agreed to dismiss the existing state charges to facilitate the federal prosecution and Barbour was remanded to federal custody.
"The mandatory minimum sentences in these cases are significant and with good reason," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles. "Every time a sexually explicit image of a child is downloaded and viewed, that victim is violated yet again."
The charges against Barbour are the result of a probe by the Cypress Police Department and members of the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force (OCCETF), including HSI. As part of the investigation, authorities executed a search warrant at Barbour's Long Beach residence, seizing a desktop computer. A forensic analysis of that computer resulted in the recovery of well over a thousand images and 10 videos containing children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Investigators emphasize there is no evidence indicating the defendant produced any of the material. However, if members of the public have information relevant to the case, they are urged to call the Cypress Police Department at 714-229-3391 or contact the task force at email@example.com.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.