Man pleads not guilty in molest cases

February 25, 2004|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

A former Baltimore man accused of molesting young boys while he was a tourist in Cambodia pleaded not guilty yesterday to federal charges that could bring as many as 60 years in prison.

Richard Arthur Schmidt, 61, a one-time teacher with previous arrests for sexually abusing children, is charged under a new law that allows U.S. authorities to pursue American child "sex tourists" overseas.

Authorities said Schmidt made efforts to seduce at least four young boys while in Cambodia, including two brothers who shined shoes to support their family.

Schmidt, who once lived in Baltimore's Roland Park neighborhood, was extradited from Southeast Asia last week and made an appearance yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm in Baltimore.

In court, Schmidt acknowledged that he understood the charges and agreed to waive a detention hearing in which he could have challenged being jailed until his trial.

Court records filed by federal authorities describe Schmidt as a computer-knowledgeable stalker who lured children to his temporary housing in Cambodia by offering to teach them English, allowing them to play video games and giving them money, watermelon, shoes and a yo-yo.

Federal court records also show that Schmidt was sentenced in 1987 to 18 years in state prison in Maryland after he was convicted of sexual offenses involving a 12-year-old boy.

Schmidt served 13 years and was released on parole in 2000.

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