Fall River man pleads guilty to child exploitation charges

Crime

(file/MGN photo)

BOSTON (USDOJ) – A Fall River man entered a plea of guilty on Tuesday in federal court in Boston in connection with travelling to New Hampshire to attempt to have sex with a teenage girl.

Charles Eugene Schnitzlein III, 34, entered a plea of guilty to traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a person under 18 years of age. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani deferred acceptance of the plea until sentencing, which is scheduled for March 3, 2022. Schnitzlein was charged by criminal complaint on April 9, 2021.

It is alleged that Schnitzlein used a messaging application to communicate with an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl and devised a plan to meet the purported teenager to have sex. On April 9, 2021, Schnitzlein drove from Fall River to a mall in Nashua, N.H., to meet with the undercover officer posing as a teenage girl. On his way to the meetup location, Schnitzlein stopped to purchase condoms, flowers, soda and candy. Officers arrested Schnitzlein when he arrived.

According to court documents, during an interview with law enforcement, Schnitzlein admitted that he traveled from Fall River to meet the purported 13-year-old girl and booked a hotel room in Nashua, N.H. to have sex with the purported teenager. 

The charge of traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Nashua (N.H.) Police Commissioner Matthew E. Plante made the announcement. Assistance was provided by Massachusetts State Police and the Arlington, Revere and Boston Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mackenzie Duane of Mendell’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

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