AG’s Child Predator Unit Announces 81st Arrest

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett Thursday announced that agents from the Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit have arrested a Lawrence County man accused of using an Internet chat room to sexually proposition two 13-year old girls, as well as sending sexually explicit photos and webcam videos to the girls.

Corbett identified the defendant as Douglas D. Schroth, 45, Ellwood City, Lawrence County.

Corbett explained that the “girls” Schroth was communicating with were actually undercover profiles used by an agent from the attorney general’s Child Predator Unit. The unit was created in January 2005 to conduct proactive undercover investigations in order to identify and apprehend Internet predators before they can harm children. This is the 81st arrest since the creation of the Child Predator Unit.

According to the criminal charges, Schroth, using the Internet screen name “need2foolaround69,” initially approached the undercover agent in an Internet chat room on Jan. 23. During that first chat, Schroth allegedly asked the girl a series of detailed questions about her sexual experience, sent a live Web cam video of himself masturbating and instructed her to masturbate.

Corbett said that over the next several months, Schroth allegedly engaged in a total of 21 sexually explicit Internet chats with the girl, expressing his desire to “teach” her about sex and cautioning her to keep their relationship secret, commenting, “u need someone a lil older who knows how to do it & not tell everyone else about it.”

According to the criminal complaint, Schroth sent the girl several nude webcam videos and photos and asked her to send nude photos in return. Additionally, Schroth invited her to visit his home and swim nude in his pool, “maybe this summer… after school is out,” and described in graphic detail the sex acts he wished to perform when she visited.

Corbett said that on June 6, Schroth contacted a second 13-year-old girl, also an undercover identity belonging to an agent from the Child Predator Unit. During their first chat Schroth allegedly commented that he was looking for “a single, young, pretty girl to hookup with,” and sent the girl a live Web cam video of himself masturbating.

Schroth was arrested at his Ellwood City home on Wednesday by agents from the Child Predator Unit. Agents also seized two computers and digital storage devices from Schroth’s home, which will be analyzed by the Attorney General’s Computer Forensics Unit as part of the continuing investigation.

Schroth is charged with four counts of unlawful contact with a minor and four counts of criminal use of a computer, all third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Schroth was preliminarily arraigned before Ellwood City Magisterial District Judge Jerry Cartwright Jr. and lodged in the Lawrence County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. He was also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and prohibited from using the Internet or having any unsupervised contact with minors. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday in Lawrence County Central Court.

The case will be prosecuted in Lawrence County by Deputy Attorney General William F. Caye, of the attorney general’s Child Predator Unit.

Corbett thanked the Ellwood City Police Department for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.

Corbett urged anyone with information about suspected Internet predators to contact the Child Predator Unit at 800-385-1044 or file an online complaint at the attorney general’s Web site. He also encouraged families to regularly discuss online safety.

“As summer vacation continues, it is vital that parents talk to their children about the threat of Internet predators,” Corbett said. “Every child should understand the dangers of chatting with strangers or meeting people who approach them online.”

Detailed information about Internet safety is available in the “Operation Safe Surf” and “Just 4 Kids” sections of the Web site.

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