December 22, 2014

Sixth man arrested in Kearney sex ring case

A sixth man has been arrested in the unfolding child prostitution case in Kearney.

The Kearney Hub reports that 26-year-old Zachary Schmidt of North Platte has been charged in Buffalo County with first-degree assault of a child. Schmidt is accused of have sex with a teen-age girl earlier this year at a Kearney motel. Schmidt is being held in the Buffalo County Jail. He is also wanted on a forgery warrant from Woodbury County, Iowa.

Schmidt is scheduled to appear in court next month.

The arrest grew from the investigation of an Upland woman accused of prostituting her daughters.

Franklin County officials say nine charges have been added against the 35-year-old from Upland; five counts of visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct, two counts of human trafficking and two counts of child abuse. All are felonies.

Charges have also been filed against the woman in Buffalo and Furnas Counties. In Buffalo County, she faces a charge of felony conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault of a child as well as two counts of felony possession of child pornography. In Furnas County, she is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault of a child.

The case broke on April 26th when an undercover Nebraska State Patrol officer charged the woman solicited herself and her 14-year-old daughter for $350 at a Kearney motel when he responded to an ad on Craigslist offering female companionship in the Kearney area.

Court documents accuse the woman of forcing her teen-age daughter into a sexually abusive situation and then taking photos of the assault. The woman is also accused of prostituting her 7-year-old daughter.

The woman’s name is being withheld to protect the privacy of her children, who have been removed from her home and placed into state custody.