Sanford Man Pleads Guilty to Producing and Receiving Child Pornography
ORLANDO, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Douglas Scheels (43, Sanford) pleaded guilty today to producing and receiving child pornography. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, up to 30 years, in federal prison for the production charge and a mandatory minimum of five years, up to 20 years, for the receipt charge. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, from at least June 2014, and continuing through his arrest on January 11, 2015, Scheels sought out, identified, communicated with, and sexually exploited several minor victims. He enticed two minors from his neighborhood into producing child pornography. Scheels also sought out additional minor victims from his neighborhood. Using online communications, Scheels persuaded a minor to produce and send him explicit photos, and also communicated with additional minors over the Internet for the same purpose.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sanford Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Bishop Ravenel.
This is another case 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 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.justice.gov/psc.