ORLANDO, Fla - A 65-year-old retired Brevard County school teacher was arrested yesterday for possession, production and distribution of child pornography following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.
The criminal complaint affidavit alleges that, from November 2008 to June 2009, Berne Schmidlkofer, of Cocoa Beach, Fla., produced, distributed, received and possessed images of child pornography in interstate commerce.
Schmidlkofer is a retired Brevard County teacher and spent the last five years teaching school in Japan. He returned to Cocoa Beach in December 2008.
If convicted on all charges, Schmidlkofer faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.
This case will be prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Carlos Perez-Irizarry.
The arrest of Schmidlkofer was part of Operation Predator, a comprehensive ICE initiative aimed at those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable.
Additional information about Operation Predator is available on the Web at www.ice.gov. ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is 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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
A criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.