Fernandina Beach Man Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Entice An 11-Year-Old To Engage In Sexual Activity

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that William Rand Paige, Jr. (50, Fernandina Beach) has pleaded guilty to using the internet to attempt to entice a 11-year-old child to engage in sexual activity. Paige faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, up to life, in federal prison and a potential life term of supervised release. A sentencing date has not yet been set. Paige was arrested on December 18, 2023, and has since been detained.  

According to court documents, on November 29, 2023, an undercover FBI agent in Jacksonville was conducting an online undercover operation to identify individuals who were seeking to meet and engage in sexual activity with children. Posing as a person with access to an 11-year-old child, the undercover agent was online in a particular social messaging app when he was contacted by an individual using the app user name “ah..904,” subsequently identified as Paige. After learning the age of the “child,” Paige asked the agent if he and the “child” would “like her to be touched all over.” In a series of online conversations on the app and emails from November 29 through December 11, 2023, Paige discussed his desire to meet the “child” and engage in sexual activity with her. On December 11, 2023, Paige contacted the undercover agent online and stated “What are your thoughts on meeting? You think [the “child”] would be receptive? Do you want to have it happen?” On December 4 and again on December 11, 2023, Paige sent the undercover agent several videos depicting young children being sexually abused.

On December 18, 2023, FBI agents executed a federal search warrant at Paige’s residence and arrested Paige. A review of the content on Paige’s cellphone revealed that it contained at least one photo depicting the sexual abuse of a child, as well as the email account used by Paige to communicate with the undercover agent.      

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being 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 child victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Originally published at https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/fernandina-beach-man-pleads-guilty-attempting-entice-11-year-old-engage-sexual

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