Thursday, May 22, 2008

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Former Del Valle School District Bus Driver Receives Four Years in Prison For Online Solicitation

BASTROP – A former Del Valle ISD school bus driver investigated and prosecuted by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit received a four-year prison sentence Wednesday for using the Internet to prey upon children.

Michael Richard Schweitzer, 56, of Cedar Creek, pleaded guilty to online solicitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, for distributing sexually explicit materials to an undercover Cyber Crimes Unit investigator who had assumed the online profile of a 13-year-old girl. Schweitzer was taken into custody immediately after sentencing. After completing his sentence, Schweitzer will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. Assistant Attorney General Sarah Wannarka prosecuted the case in conjunction with the Bastrop District Attorney’s office.

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Michael Schweitzer
Michael Schweitzer

“Few things are more frightening to parents than a sex predator driving their children to school each morning,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue working tirelessly to protect Texas children. We are grateful to the Bastrop District Attorney’s office for their assistance with this case.”

Cyber Crimes Unit investigators arrested Schweitzer in October 2007 at his residence, where they confiscated a computer for forensic analysis. Although Schweitzer did not actually travel to meet with the online minor he propositioned, Texas law makes it a felony to “knowingly solicit” a minor for sex or to distribute sexually explicit material to a minor online. State law also explicitly prohibits offenders from defending charges against them by arguing that no meeting actually occurred.

Since taking office, Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting online child predators. In 2003, he created the Cyber Crimes Unit, which protects children from online sexual exploitation. The Cyber Crimes Unit and the Fugitive Unit, which locates sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, have combined to arrest more than 700 sex offenders. Cyber Crimes Unit investigators also have traveled to schools and communities statewide to offer educational cyber safety programs. For more information on Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on sex predators, visit the Attorney General's Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.