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Press Release

Former High School Librarian Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Kidnapping Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CHRISTOPHER ASCH was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in prison for conspiring to kidnap, rape, and murder the wife of a man he had met over the Internet, as well as a female Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) agent working in an undercover capacity.  ASCH was convicted of two counts of kidnapping conspiracy following a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe, who imposed the sentence.


Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Christopher Asch, a former New York City public school librarian, received a significant prison term for his involvement in two sadistic kidnapping, rape, and murder conspiracies.  Prosecuting and bringing to justice perpetrators of such depraved and violent crimes is at the core of this Office’s mission.  We thank our law enforcement partners at the FBI for their tireless efforts to bring Asch to justice.”


According to the charging document, other documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court, and in statements made during court proceedings:


Between the spring of 2011 and January 2013, ASCH, Richard Meltz, and Michael Van Hise engaged in a series of email and instant message communications during which they discussed and planned the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Van Hise’s wife and other members of Van Hise’s family.  Van Hise sent ASCH and Meltz photographs of these family members, and the approximate location of their residence. 


In addition, beginning in approximately January 2013, ASCH, Meltz, and an FBI agent working in an undercover capacity (“UC-1”),  began discussions about kidnapping a woman, who unbeknownst to ASCH and his co-conspirators was also an FBI agent working in an undercover capacity.  UC-1 and ASCH met on a number of occasions in Manhattan, and during one meeting ASCH provided UC-1 with a bag of materials to be used during the kidnapping and torture of the intended victim, including, among other things, a ski mask, hypodermic needles, leather ties, chrome forceps, a three-page gun show itinerary, documents relating to a “leg-spreader” and “dental retractor” that ASCH claimed to have purchased, and the liquid form of doxepin hydrochloride, commonly used as a sleep agent.  ASCH also traveled from New York to Pennsylvania to attend a gun show and purchased a high-voltage Taser gun to incapacitate the victim during the planned kidnapping. 


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In addition to the prison term, ASCH, 65, of Manhattan, New York, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.


Meltz, 67, of Linden, New Jersey, pled guilty in September 2014 before Judge Gardephe and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Van Hise, 27, of Newark, New Jersey, was convicted in March 2014 following a jury trial before Judge Gardephe and is awaiting sentence.


Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI.


This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hadassa Waxman and Brooke Cucinella are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated January 30, 2018

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 18-034