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Press Release

Menasha Man Sentenced to 25 years in Federal Prison for Sexually Assaulting a Toddler on Video

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on February 13, 2024, John D. Schaefer (age: 35) of Menasha, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 300 months’ imprisonment for production of child pornography and distribution of child pornography in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2251(a) and 2252A(a)(2)(A).

In November of 2022, law enforcement was contacted by the defendant’s roommate who stated that he had been shown a video produced by Schaefer depicting the sexual abuse of a child who was approximately 15 months old. Further investigation revealed that Schaefer sexually assaulted the child while acting as a babysitter. As part of the investigation, law enforcement seized Schaefer’s electronic items, which contained the video of that abuse and over 2.2 terabytes of child sexual abuse material.

During the sentencing hearing, Senior United States District Judge William C. Griesbach noted the horrific nature of the defendant’s actions, the long-term mental health effects that his actions had on his victim and on the children depicted in the over 156,000 images and videos that he possessed and distributed. Judge Griesbach found a strong need to protect the community and sentenced Schaefer to 25 years’ imprisonment. Upon release from prison, Schaefer will serve a lifetime on supervised release and must register as a sex offender under state and federal law.

This case was investigated by the Menasha Police Department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Oshkosh Police Department.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.

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 U.S. Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the 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


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Updated February 13, 2024