Rhinelander man sentenced to 25 years in prison for child sex trafficking
MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) - The 36-year-old man from Rhinelander accused of attempting to meet young girls online for sex was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison after being convicted of soliciting a 13-year-old Illinois girl on the MeetMe social media site.
Paul Osterman previously pled guilty to “sex trafficking of a child under the age of 14-years-old.” His federal charges stem from allegations he solicited the child for sex in exchange for money in July 2019 and drove from Wisconsin to Illinois for the purpose of having sex with a child. According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin, Osterman then engaged in sexual acts with that child in exchange for money.
“Further investigation revealed that Osterman attempted or performed sexual acts with several minors throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota,” the attorney’s office statement reads.
According to the USAO, the judge in the case “noted the horrendous nature of the crime and the strong need to deter Osterman from engaging in further abuse,” adding that the “crimes were not made in haste,” and happened over several years. The judge ordered that once Osterman completes his sentence, he will serve the remainder of his life on supervised release and be required to register as a sexual offender.
In Marathon County, investigators said Osterman used an alias and attempted to meet a young girl for sex using social media in 2018. The criminal complaint stated that because public wi-fi had been used, the user’s identity could not be determined. At the time, the user had suggested meeting a 12-year-old girl, but later stated it was a joke when the recipient said they’d call the police. According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin, he would often make requests to children to exchange money for sexual acts.
Osterman’s criminal complaints detail similar requests at various times until June 2020.
Osterman owns an internet service provider business and told investigators anyone of his 400 customers could be the suspect when detectives attempted to track the source of the messages. Investigators later installed a GPS device on his vehicle and say they matched his location to the source of the messages.
In May 2020, Osterman was accused of attempting to meet a 9-year-old. Court documents state he was communicating with a member of Perverted Justice—a group that works to catch child-sexual predators. The person contacted Tomahawk Police to report the incident.
The FBI assisted in the federal investigation into Osterman.
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