TORONTO â€” American prosecutors are pushing for a nine-year prison term and indefinite probation for a man who flew to Canada to have sex with a 13-year-old girl who had sent him nude videos.
In pushing for the sentence, prosecutors say Paul Binh Do caused the Calgary teen severe distress, tried to cover up his crime, breached his bail conditions, and may have been trying to lure five other underage girls.
“A 108-month sentence is reasonable in light of the nature and circumstances of the offence,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Vibhav Mittal said in his sentencing submission.
“Even after he was caught, defendant continued to engage in criminal conduct by lying to law enforcement, telling the minor victim of his crime to lie for him, and asking a woman he had never met in person to be his alibi.”
Do, 29, of Garden Grove, Calif., had faced a possible 50-year term after pleading guilty last year to travelling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and being in receipt of child pornography. He was to be sentenced in Santa Ana, Calif., next week, but the hearing has been moved to April at the request of his lawyer, who cited personal circumstances.
Court documents show Do â€” who was then 26 â€” began communicating with M.F., 13, of Calgary, in September 2013, when she posted online that she wanted to meet guys. The two pursued their contact via social media and text messaging, and he asked her to be his girlfriend. They exchanged nude and sexually explicit photos and videos, and he persuaded her to engage in “prohibited sexual conduct,” according to an agreed statement of facts.
Do, a first-time offender who has a university degree in business administration, flew to Calgary in May 2014 to have sex with M.F. on what would have been her 14th birthday. However, Canadian authorities arrested him on arrival and found explicit images of the girl on his computer and phones.
“Defendant took advantage of a minor that he knew was troubled,” Mittal says. “He was aware of her problems at home and her substance abuse issues. Defendant’s crimes have only further harmed victim M.F.’s mental health and substance abuse issues.”
Investigators who searched Do’s computer and phones also found conversations with five other girls that were sexual in nature. In one case, he discussed flying to London to visit a person who had identified herself as a 15-year-old, court records show.
A psychologist who interviewed Do indicated in a report that he is neither a danger to minors nor a sexual predator, a position rejected by the prosecution.
“This finding is difficult to square with his relationships with victim M.F. and five other individuals that indicated they were minor girls,” Mittal states.
In addition, documents show Do admitted to breaching release conditions by visiting parks on at least 12 separate occasions.
The investigation by U.S. Homeland Security that snared Do was part of an international initiative begun in 2003 â€” dubbed “Operation Predator” â€” aimed at protecting children from sexual predators.
Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press