Rhinelander man charged following 2-year attempted child-trafficking investigation
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The 34-year-old man accused of attempting to meet young girls online for sex was formally charged Tuesday in Marathon County Circuit Court with trafficking of a child.
Paul Osterman is in jail on a $50,000 cash bond.
Court document state in January 2018, investigators believe Osterman used an alias and attempted to meet a young girl for sex using the social networking service, MeetMe. The criminal complaint states because public wi-fi had been used, the identity of the user 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.
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, Osterman is 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.
Osterman’s arrest was a collaborative effort between the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force. The Tomahawk Police Department, the Rhinelander Police Department, the Wausau Police Department, and the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office also assisted with the investigation.
He’s scheduled to return to court on Sept. 30.
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