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Press Release

Lehigh County Man Charged With Attempted Online Enticement And Sex Trafficking Of A Child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on September 29, 2020, Philip Schmaldinst, age 44, of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, was indicted by a federal grand jury for attempted online enticement of a minor and attempted sex trafficking of a child.

According to United States Attorney, David J. Freed, the indictment alleges that Schmaldinst attempted to use a facility of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.  Additionally, the indictment alleges that Schmaldinst attempted to cause a child to engage in a commercial sex act.   

The charges stem from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Philadelphia Division and its state and local law enforcement partners in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.  Assistant United States Attorney Jeffery St. John is prosecuting the case.

The maximum penalties under federal law for these offenses is life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum period of imprisonment of 15 years, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court. 


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Updated April 6, 2022

Project Safe Childhood