Lake Charles Mechanic Pleads Guilty In Obscenity Case
LUBBOCK, Texas — A former mechanic from Lake Charles, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in federal court in Lubbock, Texas, today to a federal obscenity charge, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Nicholas W. Schofield, 25, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to one count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. Judge Cummings ordered a presentence investigation report with a sentencing date to be set after the completion of that report. Schofield was released on bond following his arrest in May 2014 in Lake Charles, and remains on bond pending his sentencing hearing.
According to documents filed in the case, in November 2013, a minor female, “Jane Doe,” from San Angelo, Texas, began texting with a person, whom she did not know, who purported to be an 18-year-old mechanic from Louisiana named “Nick.” Nick was in fact, defendant Schofield. They engaged in numerous texting communications until February 2014, when Jane Doe’s communications were assumed by an undercover special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
In the course of his communications with the undercover agent, Schofield sent various sexually explicit images and videos, all the while believing he was communicating with 15-year-old Jane Doe. According to the factual resume filed, the video Schofield sent to the minor is obscene, in that it appeals to a prurient interest in sex, depicts a sexually explicit act and is patently offensive and, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
ICE HSI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy is prosecuting.