Richard A. Schmidt, a 74-year-old convicted child molester is being considered for release without parole by the Federal Appeals Court.
Schmidt, who was an elementary school teacher from Maryland, was in and out of jail many times in the 1980’s for child molestation, spending over 12 years behind bars.
He was released from jail in 2002, but when accused of violating his parole, he fled to the Philippines, where he began working as a computer consultant and instructor at a local school. Court records show the following year, Schmidt was arrested after being accused for committing countless sex crimes against children from the ages of 9 to 16.
After he was released in the Philippines, Schmidt went to Cambodia in December 2003, where he reportedly stayed in guesthouses that catered to sex tourists. Prosecutors said all this time he maintained a U.S. bank account and got around with tourist visas. Again he was arrested in Cambodia for more liaisons with young boys, including a 13-year-old who testified against him.
Congress passed a law, soon after Schmidt landed in Southeast Asia, granting prosecutors the ability to go after U.S. citizens who participate in “sex tourism” and exploit “children from foreign countries.”
In 2004 Schmidt pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting little boys in Southeast Asia and was deported back to the U.S. to serve a 15-year federal prison sentence.
According to the Washington Post, Schmidt, now 74, appealed his conviction. A federal judge from Baltimore supported this by stating even though “record establishes that Schmidt is a sexual predator, Schmidt did not break U.S. law because the crimes he pleaded guilty to did not happen in the first country he visited after leaving U.S. soil but in the second.”
Schmidt’s appeal did not dispute his molestation of young boys, but rather focused on discrediting the time in which his crimes occurred.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz stated that in order for prosecutors to have authority in other countries, the United States and that particular country must be connected.
Sujit Raman, chief of appeals for the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland stated that Congress wanted to criminalize all sex crimes despite time of travel.
Mary E. Davis, Schmidts attorney claimed he was not guilty stating, “He was not some itinerant vagabond. Schmidt left the United States with the intent not to return.”
The Washington Post writes, “If the ruling by the Baltimore judge stands on appeal, prosecutors are concerned that Schmidt would not be supervised or registered as a sex offender after his release. He would have no obligation to register under federal law or for the Maryland convictions from the 1980’s.”
After evaluation The Bureau of Prisons called Schmidt a “sexually dangerous person,” allowing the government the ability to ask to have Schmidt “civilly committed after his release from a North Carolina prison, scheduled for January.”
The Washington Post states “Authorities are working on a separate track to keep Schmidt in custody, a legal process that is also tied up on appeal at the 4th Circuit.”
H/T: The Washington Post
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