The following is a media release from the Department of Justice:
A former Maple Valley man was sentenced July 20 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 22 years in prison for production and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.
Stephen Schmidt, 45, pleaded guilty in April 2018, admitting that he raped and molested two young children.
Schmidt made photographic evidence of the molestation of a 7-year-old child and kept the images on his electronic devices. He also molested a 13-year-old and a young child in Lewis County, Washington.
When the two Maple Valley children disclosed the sexual abuse, their mother immediately reported the case to police. At the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said “his history is concerning, his repeated decisions to molest these children…. This defendant is precisely the type of offender congress had in mind when it increased the penalties.”
“This defendant stole the innocence of three children, betraying them and their families,” said Hayes. “Congress provided for long sentences for those who produce child pornography because of the significant harm they do. I commend the work of the King County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. Their joint efforts have made our district safer for everyone.”
“Schmidt’s acts are unthinkable. He robbed multiple children of their innocence and then documented his horrific actions,” said Brad Bench, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “King County and HSI worked together to gather all relevant evidence to prevent him from harming anyone else. While we can’t undo Schmidt’s actions, I hope today’s sentence brings his victims and their families’ closure.”
According to records filed in the case, in early May 2017, the Maple Valley woman reported to Child Protective Services, and later to local law enforcement that her two minor children had disclosed sexual abuse by Schmidt. A few days after the victim’s mother alerted law enforcement, he contacted a King County Sheriff’s Deputy and disclosed a lengthy history of child sexual abuse, including the two Maple Valley children, and the sexual molestation of the child in Lewis County.
Schmidt was taken into custody and has been incarcerated ever since.
A search of electronic devices belonging to Schmidt revealed images of one of the children he molested, as well as a collection of sexually explicit images of other young victims obtained from other sources.
The federal sentence imposed today is part of a global resolution of child molestation charges in King and Lewis counties as well as the federal charges. Under the resolution, Schmidt will plead guilty and be sentenced in state court to 26 years to life in prison. Martinez ordered the federal sentence to run concurrent to the state sentence. Martinez ordered that Schmidt be on federal probation following prison for the rest of his life.
The case was investigated by the King County Sheriff’s Office and HSI.
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson. Ms. Gregson is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute child exploitation cases in federal court.