Former Laurel City Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Receiving Child Pornography
Baltimore, Maryland - Former Laurel City Police officer Edward Charles Schmitt, age 38, of Laurel, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to receiving child pornography.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; Howard County Police Chief William McMahon; and Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino.
According to Schmitt’s plea agreement, on May 2, 2010, the Howard County Police learned that at some point in February 2010, Schmidt had placed a hidden camera in a minor female’s closet. The county police executed a search warrant at Schmitt’s residence and seized two computers and a media card. The two computers contained 32 images and 16 videos of minors, including minors under the age of 12, engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including sadistic or masochistic conduct. The media card contained non-pornographic images of the minor female taken by the camera hidden in the closet.
As part of his plea agreement, Schmitt must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
As part of the plea agreement, Schmitt and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Schmitt will be sentenced to seven years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for September 9, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Details about Maryland’s program are available at www.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ICE - Homeland Security Investigations, the Howard County Police Department and the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin M. Block, who prosecuted the case.