POTSDAM — A Potsdam man faces a minimum 35 years in federal prison after being convicted at trial of sexually exploiting a child, possessing child pornography and failing to register as a sex offender.
Jerod Schaffer, 40, was convicted Friday after a five-day trial in U.S. District Court, Utica, of sexual exploitation of a minor, committing a felony offense against a minor while being required to register as a sex offender, and receipt and possession of child pornography.
The jury acquitted Schaffer of one count of sexual exploitation of a child and failed to reach a verdict on three other counts, according to U.S. attorneys.
Prosecutors said in a statement that the evidence at trial established that Schaffer was convicted in 2014 in Franklin County of first-degree attempted sexual abuse and, because of that offense, was required to register as a sex offender under federal and state law.
In November 2021, while still being required to register as a sex offender, Schaffer met a 14-year-old girl on a social media site and began requesting and receiving child pornography from her. In early 2022, he traveled from New York to Ohio where he raped the victim on multiple occasions, recorded it, and posted a sex video online. When his house was searched in May 2022, he had dozens of sexually explicit files depicting the victim, according to prosecutors.
U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Matthew Scarpino, special agent in charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations, made the announcement of his conviction.
At sentencing scheduled for Sept. 21 before U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd, Schaffer faces a mandatory minimum imprisonment of 35 years and a maximum term of 120 years, a term of supervised release of between five years and up to life starting after he is released from prison.
He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, various special assessments, restitution to the victim, and forfeiture of the electronic device involved in the commission of his offense.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Potsdam Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Gadarian and Adrian LaRochelle as part of Project Safe Childhood.
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