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United States v. Schneider
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
817 F. Supp. 2d 586 (2011)
Kenneth Schneider (plaintiff), an American living and working in Moscow, sponsored the ballet education of Roman Zavarov, a Russian minor. Schneider started sponsoring Zavarov when Zavarov was 12 years old. As a condition of Schneider’s sponsorship of Zavarov, Zavarov lived in Schneider’s apartment. Schneider sexually abused Zavarov several times a week during their entire cohabitation and threatened that he would stop sponsoring Zavarov if Zavarov disclosed the abuse. When Zavarov was 15 years old, Schneider enrolled him in a prestigious summer ballet program in Pennsylvania. Schneider escorted Zavarov to the Pennsylvania program but did not stay, instead spending the summer travelling throughout the United States on business. Schneider did not sexually abuse Zavarov while they were in the United States. After the program ended, Schneider accompanied Zavarov back to their shared apartment in Russia. The sexual abuse continued until Zavarov left Schneider and moved to the United States. Zavarov later sued Schneider for sexual abuse. Because of investigations prompted by Zavarov’s lawsuit, Schneider was criminally charged on two counts: (1) travelling in foreign commerce to engage in sex with a minor; and (2) transporting a minor in foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual contact with the minor. Schneider was convicted on both counts after a jury trial. Schneider appealed, arguing that (a) engaging in sexual contact with Zavarov was not the primary purpose of the trip to Pennsylvania; and (b) because engaging in sexual contact with Zavarov was not the primary purpose of the trip, Schneider could not be charged for either his own trip or for transporting Zavarov.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sánchez, J.)
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