Ronald Schulz, 54, of Rantoul, Kan., pleaded guilty Feb. 1 in the District of Kansas to one count of producing child pornography. He admitted that he became a target of a criminal investigation when an undercover officer in Sacramento, Calif., received images of child pornography over the Internet. The officer traced the images to Schulz in Kansas.
ICE agents served federal search warrants in August and September 2009 at Schulz's home and seized computers and storage media. Among thousands of images of child pornography, ICE agents found photos of a 2-month-old girl who was related to Schulz. In the photos, Schulz was shown touching the infant's genitals.
Sentencing for Schulz is scheduled for April 27. He faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison, and a fine up to $250,000. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Martin, District of Kansas, is prosecuting the case.
"Anyone who sexually exploits children will learn that ICE and our law enforcement partners will hold them accountable for their despicable actions," said Gilbert Trill, assistant special agent-in-charge of the ICE's Office of Investigations in Kansas City. "Our ICE agents work tirelessly to investigate child predators that victimize the most vulnerable members of our society."
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.