Mon. Dec 4th, 2023
A Jefferson City couple could face 30 to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to recording the sexual abuse of a child.
35 year old Paul Emerson Schofield, and his wife, 30 year old Sara Ellen Schofield both pleaded guilty on charges of conspiracy to produce and production of child pornography.
They admitted having recorded images of child sex abuse during the timeline between 2019 and 2022.
In April of last year officers got a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about child porn images uploaded onto a social media platform.
Paul Schofield was identified by the IP address.
Officers searched the Schofield’s home and found the images as well as videos of the couple sexually assaulting an unconscious child.
The couple has been held in federal custody without bond since July of 2022.
At the time Paul Scofield was a Jefferson City Corrections Officer.
A former corrections officer at the Jefferson City Correctional Center and his wife pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges related to video recording their sexual assault of a child victim.
Paul Emerson Schofield, 35, and his wife, Sara Ellen Schofield, 30, both of Jefferson City, each pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps, Jr., to one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography and one count of producing child pornography. The Schofields have been in federal custody without bond since their arrest on July 13, 2022.
By pleading guilty today, Paul and Sara Schofield each admitted they participated in a conspiracy to produce child pornography over a nearly three-year period from July 29, 2019, to June 7, 2022. A child victim under the age of 12 was used to produce child pornography.
The investigation began when law enforcement received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on April 25, 2022. Kik, a free online social media platform, reported that a user later identified as Paul Schofield had uploaded multiple videos of child sexual exploitation material.
Paul Schofield was active in the child pornography trading community. Multiple Kik chats were located in which he was distributing and receiving child pornography and discussing child molestation.
Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the Schofields’ residence on June 7, 2022. A forensic examiner conducted a preview of Paul Schofield’s cell phone and located several videos of child pornography, including infants engaged in sexual contact with adults. Examiners later found videos on the phone of both Paul and Sara Schofield sexually assaulting an unconscious 4-year-old victim.
On June 9, 2022, law enforcement officers executed another search warrant at the Schofields’ residence. Officers seized Sara Schofield’s cell phone, which contained another sexually explicit video of the same 4-year-old victim in which the voices of Paul and Sara Schofield can be heard.
At the time of the offense, Paul Schofield was employed as a corrections officer at the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Jefferson City.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreements, the government and the defendants agree to recommend a sentencing range between 30 years and 40 years in federal prison without parole. The sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Turner. It was investigated by the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Office Cyber Crimes Task Force and the FBI.
Project Safe Childhood
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”