Lisa A. Renze, 48, of Uniontown, Pa., pleaded guilty April 2 before U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer. At sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 1, she faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or both. She is currently free on bond.
The guilty plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pennsylvania State Police.
According to the investigation, in January 2010, Renze employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced a minor under the age of 16 to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing digital photographs of the conduct. The sexually explicit digital photographs taken Jan. 30, 2010, and on other occasions between 2009 and 2011, were then distributed by Renze to her friend and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission co-worker, John Longo, who was indicted last month on similar charges.
The investigation is part of HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.
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.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch in the Western District of Pennsylvania.