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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 1, 2016

Sex Offender Sentenced To Life Imprisonment

Twice Convicted Child Molester Produced Child Pornography While on Parole

Juneau, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Thomas Schopp, 52, resident of Juneau, Alaska, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to life imprisonment for production of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a)(1).

Schopp had two prior convictions in state court for child molestation.  In those case, Schopp was identified as Thomas Hiser.  On January 29, 1988, Schopp (Hiser) was convicted of six counts of sexual assault in the first degree and was sentenced to five years in prison.  On May 17, 1993, Schopp (Hiser) was convicted of two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, and one count of attempted sexual abuse in the third degree, and was sentenced to 26 years in prison. 

According to documents filed in this case and arguments made at today’s sentencing hearing, Schopp met Juvenile A, providing the minor with gifts over the course of several months, to include a cell phone.  In February 2014, Schopp invited Juvenile A to his residence.  At the residence, Schopp videotaped the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Schopp then traveled with Juvenile A to Reno, Nevada.  Once in Reno, Schopp was arrested and detained.  While detained, the defendant attempted to recruit individuals he knew to recover a computer and cell phone that he had been traveling with – and which contained the child pornographic images Schopp had produced – and to destroy those items.

In sentencing the defendant, Judge Burgess noted that Schopp had been arrested and sentenced to prison on two prior occasions for molesting at least nine children who had previously been in his care, and that a life term of imprisonment was the only way he could protect the community from the defendant.  Judge Burgess said, “you go to jail for 26 years and you get out and here we are again.  I don’t think there is anything I can do to deter you.  Nothing.”  According to Judge Burgess, “the only way I can [protect the public] is to sentence you to life.”    

This case was investigated and prosecuted by the FBI in Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska, and Reno, Nevada.  Assistance was provided by the State of Alaska Department of Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole, and the Washoe County (Nevada) Sheriff’s Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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, or contact the District of Alaska’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator at (907) 271-5071.

Topic: 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated August 2, 2016