WILMINGTON, Del. – A Delaware man was sentenced today to life in prison plus 10 years for various child exploitation offenses. The sentence is the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Delaware State Police's Child Predator Task Force and High Technology Crimes Unit.
Paul Edward Pavulak, 67, of New Castle, Del., was convicted by a federal jury in September 2010 of one count of attempted production of child pornography, one count of attempted enticement and coercion of a minor to engage in sexual activity, one count of possession of child pornography, one count of failure to register and update a registration as a sex offender, and one count of committing a felony offense involving a minor while being required to register as a sex offender. Pavulak was originally indicted on these five counts on April 16, 2009.
"The sentence handed down today should send a clear message to those who believe they can victimize children, here or abroad, and not be held accountable for their actions," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI in Philadelphia. "This case is yet another example of the extraordinary collaborative efforts among law enforcement in Delaware, to protect the most vulnerable among us."
"Mr. Pavulak has now deservedly been sentenced to spend the rest of his life locked behind bars, where he will no longer be able to abuse and harm children," said U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III, District of Delaware. "I hope that this sentence reinforces the message that those who abuse children should expect to suffer the most severe of sentences, including a lifetime in prison."
Pavulak was sentenced late this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson. The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Oberly; and Special Agent in Charge Kelleghan.
According to evidence presented at trial and at sentencing, Pavulak was convicted in 1998 and 2005 of second degree unlawful sexual contact with minors in New Castle County Superior Court. In each of those cases, Pavulak molested the daughters of women he was dating. From September 2008 to January 2009, just months after being released from custody on his second child molestation conviction, Pavulak developed an online relationship with a young woman in the Philippines who had a two-year-old daughter. In December 2008, Pavulak traveled to the Philippines and met the woman and her daughter. Pavulak produced a sexually explicit movie of himself and the woman, and described the movie as the two-year-old girl's "training video." In another video, Pavulak was recorded standing naked in a hotel room with the child and her mother.
These videos were later recovered by ICE HSI agents from the woman in the Philippines. Following his return to the United States in January 2009, Pavulak attempted to produce child pornography of the two-year-old girl via a web camera during an online instant chat message exchange with the woman.
On Jan. 19, 2009, the Delaware State Police executed a search warrant at Concrete Technology and Design, Inc.'s office in New Castle, where Pavulak had been living and working. During the search, Delaware State Police seized digital media evidence, including computers, a camera and a mobile phone. Upon review of the seized materials, investigators discovered thousands of images depicting the sexual abuse of minors on the computers. These images included depictions of children ranging in age from infancy to mid-teens engaging in sexual acts with adult males.
At trial, Pavulak's defense team suggested that other employees of the company had access to the computers and may have been responsible for the child pornography recovered from them. On a mobile phone and a computer, the investigators also found sexually explicit communications between Pavulak and the woman regarding her daughter, in which they discussed having the woman prepare the child to engage in sexual activity with Pavulak when he returned to the Philippines.
As a result of Pavulak's prior sex offenses, federal and state law required Pavulak to register as a sex offender and to provide the registry with the address of his employer and his residence. Between July 2008 and January 2009, Pavulak consistently reported to the Delaware State Police that he was unemployed and that he lived in a motel. Evidence at trial showed that Pavulak worked at Concrete Technology and Design, Inc., a concrete company owned by his children, and also resided in a room at the company's office, from which he committed his latest sexual exploitation crimes.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. McAndrew, District of Delaware; and Trial Attorney Bonnie L. Kane, Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, prosecuted the case.