CLAYTON (CBS SF) – A Clayton man pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually exploiting a minor online, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office.

Prosecutors said a judge accepted the plea of 41-year-old Daniel Stevens Paul to unlawfully communicating with a minor for the purposes of engaging in sex.

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Paul was arrested last May following an investigation by the county’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The task force learned Paul was being investigated outside the U.S. for distributing harmful material to a person he believed to be a minor.

Daniel Stevens Paul (Contra Costa District Attorney)

Agents began messaging Paul, who believed he was enticing a 14-year-old girl into meeting him for sex.

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Paul was arrested at Hidden Lakes Park in Martinez on May 20. During a search of his vehicle, agents found condoms and several bottles of alcohol.

As part of a plea agreement, Paul was sentenced to 120 days in county jail, probation and will be required to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors said there has been an increase in reports of online child exploitation since the start of the pandemic, which in many cases involve adult suspects grooming minors into taking explicit photos of themselves. Parents are being urged to monitor their child’s online activity and to have candid conversations about potential dangers online.

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Resources for parents can be found at kidsmartz.org or the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force website.