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Child Exploitation

Federal employee pleads guilty to enticing minor to engage in criminal sexual activity

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., and state law enforcement partners investigated James Raymond Schimmel, 53, of Alexandria, Va., for engaging with a minor through the Internet and convincing the victim to meet in person for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual activity.

Schimmel, who video recorded the sexual encounter without the 17-year-old victim's knowledge, pled guilty today to enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, but could be sentenced to a lifetime of incarceration. At the time of his arrest, Oct. 24, 2012, Schimmel was an employee of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

John P. Torres, special agent in charge for HSI Washington, D.C., and Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement after the plea hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Liam O'Grady.

"HSI is committed to the investigation of child predators like Schimmel who undermine the public's trust," Torres said. "HSI values the partnership with the Northern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Virginia State Police to combat child exploitation. HSI will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to bring child predators to justice."

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Updated on Jan. 31, 2013.