Jacksonville, Florida – United States District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced Paul Edward Lee, Jr. (44, Jacksonville) to 30 years in federal prison for attempting to entice a 14-year-old child to produce and send him videos and images depicting the victim’s sexual abuse. Lee was also ordered to serve a lifetime term of supervised release. In 2011, Lee was convicted of lascivious molestation and lascivious exhibition involving a 10-year-old child in Jacksonville and was at that time designated as a sexual predator. Lee has been in federal custody since his arrest in this case on May 2, 2018. A federal jury had found Lee guilty in this case on March 23, 2023.
According to evidence and testimony introduced at trial, in April 2018, an FBI agent in Illinois discovered that a 14-year-old child was having online contact with an adult male in Florida through a smart phone gaming application (app) designed for use by children. The messages sent to the child by the adult male were increasingly graphic and sexually explicit. The FBI intervened and identified this individual as Lee, a registered sexual predator living in a Jacksonville residence, along with eight other registered sex offenders. On April 25, 2018, an undercover FBI agent in Jacksonville, posing as the 14-year-old child, began text messaging with Lee. During these communications, Lee told the “child” in graphic terms how he wanted to have sex with the “child,” and sent several images and videos of his own genitalia to the “child.” On April 27, 2018, Lee repeatedly texted and solicited the “child” to produce and send him graphic images and videos of “her” genitalia. When FBI agents executed a federal search warrant at his residence on May 2, 2018, Lee tried to damage his cellphone to destroy evidence of his criminal activity and was arrested.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.