Michael Pavao

A man arrested in Sonora on suspicion of underage sex crimes is a firefighter in  Piedmont, a city near Oakland.

Piedmont city officials released a statement Thursday saying they are aware of the investigation being conducted by the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.

"The city takes this issue very seriously and will cooperate with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office," the statement said. "The city will also conduct its own investigation into the matter." 

An online tip was made to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office via the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a federally funded task force based in Sacramento, in December 2019 that initiated the investigation, said Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Office Niccoli Sandelin.

Sandelin said the Sheriff’s Office would not disclose whether there was a victim in Tuolumne County, if the victim was known, or their gender. 

Michael Pavao of the 24000 block of North Bear Clover Court in Sonora, was booked into Tuolumne County Jail on suspicion of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography, a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office media release said.

According to Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office logs, a search warrant was served on North Bear Clover Court at 8:37 a.m. Tuesday. 

Sandelin said the Sheriff’s Office would not comment on whether devices were confiscated from Pavao or what kind of content may be on them.

According to booking logs, Pavao was booked into the jail at 12:14 p.m. The only charge listed in the booking logs is sexual exploitation of a child. 

Pavao was booked on $10,000 bail and bailed out of custody on Tuesday, Sandelin said. 

The ICAC Task Force consists of law enforcement officials from multiple agencies, including Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office detectives, Sandelin said.

He added that the office does not have any statistics available related to whether tips to the ICAC Task Force have resulted in arrests. 

The City of Piedmont employs a Firefighter by the name of Mike Pavao.   The City of Piedmont is aware of the investigation being conducted by the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.  The City takes this issue very seriously and will cooperate with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.  The City will also conduct its own investigation into the matter. The City will not be providing any further statements at this time.

Recommended for you