El Paso Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Coercion of a Child

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

EL PASO – An El Paso man was sentenced yesterday to 120 months in prison for his role in enticing a child to engage in sexual activity.

According to court documents, Lawrence Allen Schmidt, 53, began communicating through social media with a 14-year-old girl.  Schmidt’s conversation with the child became sexual in nature and he arranged to meet the girl at her house.  When he arrived, he had condoms, lubricant and candy in his possession.  Unbeknownst to Schmidt, he had been communicating with an undercover employee with the FBI.

On April 4, 2022, Schmidt pleaded guilty to one count of coercion or enticement of a female under 18 years of age.

 “Those who seek to manipulate children for their own sexual gratification deserve prison time,” said Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristy Callahan.  “I am thankful for the efforts of our law enforcement partners to remove these predators from our streets.”

“Crimes against children are some of the most reprehensible acts that law enforcement is determined to prevent and punish once they occur,” said FBI El Paso Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey. “We are thankful for the collaboration of our Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and El Paso Police Department partners on the El Paso Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. It is because of this partnership that this individual is now facing a lengthy sentence for his crimes. We encourage parents to speak with their children about the dangers of online predators who use popular apps, games, and websites and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

The FBI, HSI, DPS, and El Paso Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Dos Santos prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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