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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Fall River Man Arrested on Child Exploitation Charges

BOSTON – A Fall River man was charged in federal court in Boston yesterday in connection with travelling to New Hampshire to attempt to have sex with a teenage girl.

Charles Eugene Schnitzlein III, 34, was charged by criminal complaint with traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a person under 18 years of age.

According to the charging documents, Schnitzlein used a messaging application to communicate with an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl and devised a plan to meet the purported child to have sex. On April 9, 2021, Schnitzlein allegedly drove from Fall River to a mall in Nashua, N.H., to meet with the undercover officer posing as a teenage girl. On his way to the meetup location, Schnitzlein allegedly stopped to purchase condoms, flowers, soda and candy for encounter. Officers arrested Schnitzlein when he arrived.

As described in court documents, Schnitzlein admitted during an interview with law enforcement that he had traveled from Fall River to meet the purported 13-year-old girl. He further admitted that he had booked a hotel room in Nashua, N.H. to have sex with the 13-year-old girl. 

The charge of traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Nashua Police Commissioner James Tollner made the announcement. Assistance was provided by Massachusetts State Police and the Arlington, Revere and Boston Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Mackenzie Duane of Mendell’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated April 13, 2021