Criminal Justice

Suburban Philadelphia Lawyer Gets 15 Years in Child Abuse Case Sparked By Victim's Suit

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A civil suit filed in 2008 by the 12-year-old Russian boy with whom Kenneth Schneider allegedly began a relationship in 1998 resulted in a 15-year prison term for the suburban Philadelphia attorney.

Schneider, whose current age is said to be 46 or 47, denied that he had sexually abused the boy, for whom he paid ballet school tuition. However, a federal jury in Pennsylvania last year convicted him last year of traveling for the purpose of engaging in sex with a minor, according to the Associated Press.

A FBI press release says Schneider, who was creator and president of the Apogee Foundation, persuaded officials at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography in Russia to put him in touch with a pre-teen whose family could no longer cover the boy’s living expenses.

As his claimed benefactor, Schneider then allegedly had the boy live with him in an apartment in Moscow and sexually abused him between 2000 and 2001, both in Russia and, during a summer trip to the U.S., in the Philadelphia area, according to the AP and the FBI.

U.S. District Judge Juan R Sanchez called the Chester County international business lawyer a “monster” at sentencing for allegedly making the boy his “sex slave” for six years, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. “You destroyed a life and expressed no remorse whatsoever and have acted like a victim of this crime,” the judge told Schneider later in the hearing.

Scheider’s lawyer, Sam Stretton, said he would appeal both his client’s conviction and his sentence, protesting that the judge’s description of Schneider had no basis in any of the jury’s findings. He had sought a three-year term for Scheider.

“This investigation has exposed the disturbing truth concerning those individuals who believe they can victimize children abroad and not be held accountable in America for their very disturbing actions,” said special agent John Kelleghan of the Homeland Security Investigations in the FBI release. “HSI and our law enforcement partners, here and around the world, stand vigilant to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children.”

In addition to his prison term, Schneider was ordered to pay $35,000 restitution to his victim and a $20,000 fine by Sanchez.

Russian authorities and Interpol worked with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s homeland security team on the case. The AP says the victim’s filing of a civil suit resulted in the pursuit of a criminal case against Schneider, but doesn’t report what happened with the tort claim.

CBS Philly also has an article.

Updated at 5:52 a.m. to include CBS Philly and Daily News coverage.

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