Los Angeles, California - A Los Angeles resident was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for two child exploitation offenses, including engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places and traveling in foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Joseph Macias of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles.
Paul Alan Shapiro, 71, a retired auto dealership employee, pleaded guilty one day before he was set to go on trial on July 24, 2017. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Shapiro will serve 10 years in federal prison, 20 years of supervised release following his prison sentence, and will pay $20,000 total to two victims, both of whom are citizens of the Kingdom of Thailand. U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California presided over today’s sentencing.
According to plea documents, Shapiro traveled from Los Angeles to Thailand on numerous occasions over the past 20 years, and engaged in sexual acts with male boys under the age of 16 on multiple occasions. On at least two occasions in September 2012, Shapiro paid minors as young as 13 years old small amounts of local currency in order to engage in various sex acts with them. According to other documents filed in the case, Shapiro photographed these encounters of himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the boys.
HSI conducted the investigation. Trial Attorneys Austin M. Berry and Ralph Paradiso of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.