Three Child Predators Sentenced in Federal Court This Week
Strong Sentences Reflect Ongoing Effort of U.S. Attorney’s Office to Protect Children, Prosecute Dangerous Offenders
PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that three men from across the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have been sentenced to prison this week by federal judges for child exploitation offenses in separate cases. Arthur Schlegel, 48 of Roseto, PA was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment, twenty years supervised release and $10,000 restitution by Judge Joseph Leeson on June 4, 2019; Kenneth Laporte, 43, of Philadelphia, PA was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment and lifetime supervised release by Judge Harvey Bartle III on June 4, 2019; and Michael Seibert, 32, of Allentown, PA was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment and lifetime supervised release by Judge Joseph Leeson on June 6, 2019.
In the Schlegel case, the defendant pleaded guilty to multiple counts of possession and distribution of child pornography. For years, Schlegel amassed a collection of over a thousand images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children. He also shared child sexual assault images and videos online.
In the Laporte case, the defendant pleaded guilty to multiple counts of receipt and possession of child pornography for events that occurred within months of the defendant being released from federal prison after serving a sentence for similar charges.
In the Seibert case, the defendant pleaded guilty to multiple counts of manufacturing and possession of child pornography. Posing as a teenage boy, Seibert visited internet chat rooms to communicate with multiple minor girls between the ages of 10 and 14, and persuaded them to take pornographic images of themselves and send the images to him. The defendant also downloaded hundreds of digital images and dozens of videos of child pornography from internet websites.
“The nature of these crimes is horrifying and the negative impact on the victims can never be fully understood or appreciated, which is why my Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to identify, investigate and prosecute these dangerous predators,” said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain. “Child exploitation is a pervasive problem — made more so by the accessibility of the internet — that demands an aggressive response. We thank the Judges in these cases for delivering justice to these defendants through lengthy sentences.”
“Laporte took advantage of the justice system by sexually exploiting children just months after being released from federal prison for similar offenses,” said Michael Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. “Not only did he blatantly disregard the court, but he continued exploiting innocent children. This lengthy sentence makes certain that Laporte will not be afforded any further opportunity to commit these heinous acts. Society is a safer place with Laporte behind bars.”
“Child sexual exploitation is one of the most despicable crimes committed,” said Marlon V. Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. “These substantial prison sentences serve as a reminder of the strong commitment by Homeland Security Investigations to collaborate with our law enforcement and community partners to bring online child predators to justice.”
These cases were 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.
The Schlegel case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri Stephan. The Laporte case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Probation Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Everett Witherell. The Seibert case was investigated by Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Labor.