Former elementary principal pleads not guilty to sex charges

Posted Friday, Aug. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A former Arlington elementary school principal pleaded not guilty in a Florida federal court Friday of attempting to engage a minor in illegal sexual activity.

Stephen Paulsen, 54, appeared before U.S. magistrate Dave Brannon in an arraignment hearing, according to a clerk with the U.S. District of Southern Florida. Paulsen who was arrested last month in Boynton Beach.

Paulsen’s attorney, Gregg Lerman said his client will remain in federal custody while the case is pending, and that a trial will likely be held in October. An official trial date hasn’t been set.

Paulsen, who was principal at Morton Elementary in Arlington for two years, was arrested after he started chatting with a police officer on July 12 who was posing as a teen-age boy. Paulsen used the screen name, “Tony Texas,” and the online chats lasted for several days.

He was arrested after parking his van close to the address he was given, and a condom was found in his wallet.

According to the arrest warrant Paulsen sent photos to the detective of two naked men who appeared to be engaged in a sex act and made sexually explicit comments during the online chats.

Since Paulsen’s arrest, a technology manager from Morton told authorities that he found an open web site of pornographic videos when he repaired the former principal’s district-issued iPad in 2012.

The tech manager said he also saw 20 to 30 websites on the iPad’s browser history that included words like “boys caught on tape” and “young men,” according to court documents.

When Paulsen was confronted about the material, he reportedly seemed surprised and suggested that a neighborhood kid who visited his sons during the weekend may have accessed the website, according to court documents.

Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696 Twitter: @fwstliz

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