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Watertown man facing fourth arrest in texting to teen girls

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A Watertown man is jailed after walking into a sting set up by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday at Salmon Run Mall because of his alleged Facebook and texting communications with a 16-year-old girl.

The arrest of Paul J. Avallone, 55, of 636 Bronson St., was his fourth in nearly eight years, all in similar circumstances.

He awaits prosecution on charges of disseminating indecent material to minors, attempted third-degree rape, attempted third-degree criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child. Town of Watertown Justice David A. Renzi set bail at $5,000, sending him to the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building.

Judge Renzi also disqualified himself from further proceedings in the case because he represented Mr. Avallone in two of the earlier cases, which date back to 2004.

According to the sheriff’s office, Mr. Avallone began contacting the girl during the Christmas season, and her parents notified the department on New Year’s Eve. Subsequent communications alleged to be from Mr. Avallone were received by a female detective. The detective set up a rendezvous, and Mr. Avallone, expecting to meet the teenage girl, was greeted by detectives.

Detective David J. Pustizzi said in a press release that there is evidence he was making similar contacts with other local minors.

Mr. Avallone’s apparent first arrest in similar situations was made in October 2004. As a result, he pleaded guilty in June 2005 to first-degree disseminating indecent material to a minor and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, as two girls were involved. At the time of that arrest, he was an elementary school janitor. He was sentenced to the time he spent in jail.

Following an arrest in July 2007, he pleaded guilty to third-degree stalking for his messages to a 17-year-old girl. He was fined $100 in town of Watertown Court.

The third arrest was made in December after he asked a 16-year-old girl in text messages to send him pictures of her breasts. He pleaded guilty in town of Hounsfield Court to endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to community service.

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