APPLE VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — A former teacher who was arrested at the Apple Valley Airport while trying to flee in a private plane was found guilty Thursday of molesting three neighborhood girls.
Fifty-seven-year-old Paul James Hultman, of Apple Valley, was found guilty of four felony child molestation counts involving the girls, who were ages 10, 12 and 13 when the molestation started, according to the San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney’s Office.
He faces 45 years, eight months to life in prison.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Deputy District Attorney David Foy, who prosecuted the two-week trial, said after the verdicts.
“The defendant befriended these girls and paid them to do chores around his house. Then after gaining their trust, he paid them cash to perform sex acts,” Foy said.
Hultman had been a teacher at two Montessori schools in Santa Barbara until 2007, when he moved to Apple Valley and became a professional pilot.
According to trial testimony, he befriended an 8-year-old girl and her younger brother in 2009, buying them clothes and food and paying them to do chores around his house. In 2011, he asked the girl to introduce him to some of her friends.
After she introduced them to two other local girls, then ages 12 and 13, Hultman began paying them to perform sex acts on him at his house in Apple Valley, according to trial testimony. He eventually began paying the younger girl for sex, she testified.
The molestations were brought to light when the younger victim’s brother told her father that Hultman had bathed him and touched his genitals while he was at Hultman’s house, the boy testified. The girl also then told her father about the sexual abuse.
Hultman was arrested June 23, 2013 by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies at the Apple Valley Airport after the victim’s father told deputies he had confronted Hultman at his home, and he believed Hultman might be heading to the airport to flee.
A deputy testified that he saw Hultman’s vehicle and then the private plane that was taxiing on the runway, and the deputy stood in front of the moving plane to get it to stop.
At trial, jurors also saw images recovered during searches of Hultman’s computers: animated images of children having sex, and photographs of youthful females having sex with older men.
“It was very traumatic for the victims to testify,” Foy said. “Thanks to some great victim support and some excellent work by the sheriff’s department and the District Attorney’s Office, we were able to get justice for them.”
Hultman is scheduled to be sentenced on May 22 by Superior Court Judge Eric Nakata.