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Skout Sex Assault Defendant Gets 4 Years Prison for Child Pornography

Daniel R. Schmidt, 21, of Waukesha, tells Judge Donald Hassin he prays every night that God can forgive him for his actions.

Struggling to understand how their son could commit so many horrific crimes, Daniel R. Schmidt’s family begged Waukesha County Circuit Judge Donald Hassin Jr. on Monday to show Schmidt leniency as Hassin sentenced him to prison.

Schmidt, 21, of Waukesha, will spend four years in prison for his conviction on two counts of possessing child pornography and one count of eluding police. Hundreds of pornographic images involving children – including of a toddler – were found on his computer via a search warrant after he fled from the Waukesha Police Department.

“It is horrific – images that stay with one for a very long time,” said Assistant District Attorney Debra Blasius.

With drug use, drug delivery and a high-speed car chase thrown into the mix, “this wasn’t a momentary lapse of judgment or a mistake,” Blasius said.

Schmidt could face additional prison time if he is convicted of a crime that prompted a partial shutdown of a social networking website.

Schmidt is scheduled for a February jury trial in Milwaukee County on charges alleging he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old Muskego boy he met on Skout.com, a mobile flirting website. The case has drawn national media attention and prompted Skout’s CEO to shut down a mobile app to the website and temporarily shut down the under-18 portion of the site.

Schmidt’s family begged Hassin to give him a prison sentence shorter than the six years recommended by Blasius. Schmidt needs many forms of counseling for what his father described were “appalling” actions.

Schmidt said not many people can understand his “awful” actions and that he is sorry – for endangering lives with his car chase, for delivering marijuana in the community and for looking at and sharing child pornography.

“I’ve spent the last three weeks praying every night that God can forgive me for what I have done,” said Schmidt, who was sobbing throughout the court hearing. “During my incarceration, I have learned that my actions were not OK.”

Schmidt’s mother asked the judge to give her son another chance at life. Schmidt faced dozens of years in prison if Hassin gave him the maximum sentence.

“This is just tearing my heart out,” his mother said. “I do think Daniel made bad choices that were wrong. This is not the son I know. … I know he can’t change where he has been in life but he can change where he is going.”

The criminal justice system is designed to protect the community and children from people like Schmidt, said Hassin while delivering the sentence.

“Despite your young age of 21, you are a predator in this community,” Hassin said.

Schmidt’s attorney, Jonathan LaVoy, believes Hassin handed down a “fair” sentence.

“This was a case where Mr. Schmidt clearly involved himself in some very serious stuff, but he comes from a very good family,” LaVoy said. “He has accepted responsibility for his behavior. I think the court sentence was measured and I think that Mr. Schmidt is looking forward to trying to put his life back together.”

Waukesha Girl December 03, 2012 at 09:41 PM
He's only been praying to God for the last 3 weeks.. which just tells me - ut oh - my sentencing date is closing in on me - Help me now God.. Sorry dude, little bit too late. But I'm sure the "counselors" in prison will be happy to help you.
George Williams December 04, 2012 at 01:58 PM
"struggling to understand why their son could commit so many horrific crimes..." Stop struggling, here's the answer: the sin of mankind. The Bible says in the book of Romans, all of us have sinned against God, and there is no one righteous, not one. The wages of sin is death. But God demonstrated His own love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. What we ALL need to do is repent of our sin and trust Jesus Christ that he paid the ultimate price for all of our sins. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom. 10:9). Repent and trust, and the "struggling" will be over...

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