ATLANTA, GA—NEAL RAY SCHMIDT, 59, of St. Louis, Missouri, was sentenced today to serve 20 years in federal prison for seeking to have sex with two teenage girls. SCHMIDT, a retired delivery man and former Grand Dragon for the Missouri chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, had traveled from Missouri to Georgia for what he hoped would be a sexual encounter with two 14-year-old girls he met online. Since his arrest in this case, SCHMIDT has been charged with molesting his granddaughter in Missouri and with arranging a similar sexual encounter with an underage girl in Florida.
“This case starkly illustrates how the Internet can expose our children not only to the predator down the street, but also to the would-be molester who lives hundreds of miles away. Thanks to the hard work of one of our local law enforcement partners, this particular offender will now be kept away from any other potential victims for many years to come,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
“I think that it is great that this individual will be off the streets and out of our communities for quite some time. I am very proud of our Internet Crimes Against Children Unit and the professionalism they displayed during this investigation. The teamwork utilized by all the agencies involved proved to be very instrumental in the successful prosecution of this case and is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work in that capacity,” said Henry County Police Department Chief Keith Nichols.
United States District Court Judge William S. Duffey, Jr., sentenced SCHMIDT to 20 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. SCHMIDT will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from custody. SCHMIDT was arrested in June 2010 and pleaded guilty to the charges in April 2011.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: In early 2010, SCHMIDT, while trolling in an online forum for kids, met whom he believed to be two 14-year-old girls but who were in fact undercover police officers. The two girls claimed to be friends and explained that they lived near each other in McDonough, Georgia. SCHMIDT and the girls had a series of mundane exchanges until SCHMIDT turned the conversation toward sexual topics. Over the ensuing months, in an effort to groom the girls for an eventual sexual encounter, SCHMIDT sent sexually explicit videos of himself, as well as images and videos of child pornography.
In June 2010, SCHMIDT made arrangements to drive from his home near St. Louis to a motel in McDonough, Georgia, where the two girls were to meet him for their sexual encounter. SCHMIDT was arrested in the parking lot of the motel in McDonough, carrying several guns, Klan paraphernalia, and an assortment of sex toys and supplies.
This case was investigated by the Henry County Police Department, with assistance from the FBI.
Assistant United States Attorney Robert McBurney prosecuted the case.