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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 8, 2022

Fall River Man Sentenced on Child Exploitation Charges

Defendant attempted to meet with purported underaged girl for sex

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

Charles Eugene Schnitzlein III, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to four years in prison and five of supervised release. In October 2021, Schnitzlein pleaded guilty to traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a person under 18 years of age.

“The sexualization and exploitation of our children is a real and present danger. Adults who prey on children are predators and pose a serious threat to our communities. As a result of his reprehensible behavior, Mr. Schnitzlein is now a convicted felon and a sex offender. As the guardian of my 13-year-old niece, this case hits close to home for me. Children deserve to be children. There are reasons we have ages of consent and adulthood,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “This 35-year old man was attempting to have sex with an 8th grader. A juvenile. Child exploitation is a heinous crime and prosecuting perpetrators is one of my highest priorities as U.S. Attorney. We will be relentless in hunting down those who seek to exploit and sexualize our children. Child predators be warned.”

“Charles Schnitzlein clearly knew that preying on underage girls was wrong, but he did it anyway. He made extensive plans to travel to New Hampshire to have sex with what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, and when we caught him, he confessed to a history of similar, failed attempts,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge at the FBI Boston Division. “Had we not put a stop to his atrocious behavior, his conduct likely would have continued. Today’s sentence ensures that he won’t be able to victimize any child for quite some time.”

Schnitzlein used a messaging application to communicate with an individual he thought was a 13-year-old girl, who was actually an undercover agent. During the conversations, Schnitzlein sent the purported 13-year-old a photo with his penis exposed and asked for sexually explicit photos of her and with a friend. Schnitzlein also asked the purported teenager where she lived and devised a plan to meet her to have sex. On April 9, 2021, Schnitzlein 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 stopped to purchase condoms, flowers, soda and candy. Schnitzlein was arrested upon his arrival.

During an interview with law enforcement, Schnitzlein admitted that he traveled from Fall River to meet the purported 13-year-old girl and booked a hotel room in Nashua, N.H. to have sex with her. Schnitzlein further admitted to numerous past occasions in which he repeatedly went to certain retail stores to look for young girls, touch or grab them in passing and attempt to lure them to the bathroom for purposes of sex. A forensic review of Schnitzlein’s phone revealed two additional conversations between him and purported minors that were sexual in nature, including a discussion with one of the minors about meeting at a mall for sex.

U.S. Attorney Rollins, FBI SAC Bonavolonta and Nashua (N.H.) Police Commissioner Matthew E. Plante made the announcement. Assistance was provided by Massachusetts State Police and the Arlington, Revere and Boston Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mackenzie Duane of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.

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 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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated September 8, 2022