Project Safe Childhood, a federal child sex trafficking sting, has resulted in serious charges against 3 men in separate cases that could land them in prison for the rest of their lives.
As the Morning Call of Allentown reports, Philip Schmaldinst, 44, of Lehigh County; Lorenz Quiambao, 39, of Easton; and Robert Duus, 34, of Monroe County, are each charged with one count of attempted sex trafficking of a child and one count of attempted enticement of a minor.
Indictments filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Scranton say the men attempted on Sept. 24-25 to entice minors online to engage in sex acts for money.
As an example of the allegations in the separate cases, U.S. Attorney David Freed issued a press release stating that one of the suspects, Duus, allegedly tired to get a minor to engage in sexual activity with him via online communications, and also attempted to get the minor to engage in a commercial sex act.
The Morning Call points out that a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office said that although the three men were arrested in the same operation, the men are not co-defendants.
An attorney for Duus said he could not comment on the charges. Lawyers for Schmaldinst and Quiambao did not return phone calls, the Call reported.
The maximum penalty for the offenses is life in prison, with a mandatory 15-year minimum prison term. The cases were investigated by the FBI in Philadelphia, with state and local law enforcement assisting. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffery St. John is prosecuting all three cases, the Call reported.
Project Safe Childhood is described as 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.
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