BROWNSBURG, Ind.--Indiana is getting a reputation among federal prosecutors for how many sexual predators are caught there. Two more have been caught, gone through court and this week, were sent to the federal pen. Their crimes were against teenaged girls, one of them with mental difficulties.
Thomas James Israel, 46, of Ft. Wayne got 25 years, while Max Schafer, 31, of Brownsburg, got 14 years. Both used apps to get images and videos of teenaged girls, and distribute them. In Israel’s case, one of the videos he made and distributed, contained his forced sexual abuse of a child.
Israel was convicted of the abuse and exploitation of several girls in 2019 and 2020.
WARNING: You may find this disturbing.
Israel, according to court documents, met a 14-year-old girl online, met up with her and forced her to perform oral sex while he recorded. He then sent her the video.
Israel met a second victim later whose boyfriend had recorded her in sexual acts and put the videos on the internet. Israel both downloaded those videos and used Snapchat to persuade the girl, who was between 14 and 16 years old, to send him sexually explicit videos and pictures.
Israel also coerced a teenaged girl with a mental disability, knowing that she had that disability, to produce child pornography so he could sell it. He then paid her with Victoria’s Secret gift cards.
Schafer met Israel’s first victim online, persuaded her to have sex with him, then got her to send him the video that Israel had made, depicting her forced sex acts.
Schafer met a second girl using an app and persuaded her to send him explicit videos and photos.
In fiscal year 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, the Southern District of Indiana was second out of the 94 federal districts in the country for the number of child sexual exploitation cases prosecuted, said a news release from the federal prosecutor.