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Two predators sentenced to prison for sexual exploitation of 4 children

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 16:55:01-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Two predators have been sentenced to prison for sexually exploiting four children they met on social media platforms.

Thomas James Israel, 46, of Ft. Wayne, and Max Schafer, 31, of Brownsburg, were each sentenced to prison for exploiting four children between October 2019 and August 2020.

Israel and Schafer both exploited one of the victims in separate incidents.

According to The Department of Justice, Israel has previously pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and distribution of child sexual abuse material. On November 15, 2021, Israel was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.

Late Thursday night, Schafer was sentenced to over 14 years (175 months) in prison after pleading guilty to receipt of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and possession of child sexual abuse material.

Between April 2020 to June 2020, Israel met his first minor victim, who was 14, using Omegle and Meetme, according to court documents. Israel used Snapchat and Kik to persuade the victim to meet him in person and then forced the victim into sadomasochistic sexual abuse, including forceful oral sex and assault.

Israel recorded the sexual abuse on his cell phone and proceeded to send it to the victim.

Israel met his second victim using Snapchat. He persuaded the victim to send him explicit photos and videos of herself. When the victim was between the ages of 14 and 16 years old, she sent her minor boyfriend sexually explicit photos and videos of herself. Without her consent, the boyfriend spread the images and videos all over the internet. Israel downloaded the photos and videos onto his online storage account and viewed them for sexual purposes.

State in court documents, Israel met his third victim over Omegle when the victim was between 14 and 16 years old. Israel knew the victim suffered from mental health issues and convinced her to make child sex abuse material and to sell the photos and videos online. Israel took a percentage of the fees and paid the victim in Victoria's Secret gift cards.

According to court documents, Schafer met Israel's first victim on Omegle. Schafer knew the victim was only 14 years old and proceeded to meet and engage in sexually explicit conduct with the victim. Schafer then persuaded the victim to send him the video that Israel made, depicting the sexual abuse of the child.

Schafer met his second victim, who was 16, using Omegle and Snapchat. He persuaded the victim to send him sexually explicit images and videos of herself for his sexual purpose.

The FBI Violent Crime Task Force investigated the case, alongside the help of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Along with Israel's sentence, Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ordered that Israel be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for life after his release from prison and pay $16,000 in restitution to the victims.

Along with Schafer's sentence, District Judge James R. Sweeney II ordered that Schafer be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 40 years after his release from prison and pay $6,000 in restitution to the victims.

Both Israel and Schafer must also register as sex offenders wherever they live, work, or go to school, as required by law.