John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MICHELLE LYNN GSCHLECHT, formerly known as RICHARD GSCHLECHT, 51, last residing in New Haven, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley to one count of possession of child pornography.
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the court proceeding occurred via videoconference.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in August 1996, Gschlecht was convicted in state court of sexual assault in the first degree related to the aggravated sexual abuse of a minor. In July 2015, Gschlecht was convicted in state court of possession of child pornography.
In March 2019, Gschlecht began serving a 10-year term of state probation. In July 2019, Gschlecht’s probation officer received information that Gschlecht was in possession of a cellphone that contained images depicting the sexual abuse of minors. State probation officers arrested Gschlecht on July 31, 2019, after a review of her phone revealed images of child pornography. Subsequent forensic analysis of the phone revealed approximately 174 images of child pornography, including images depicting the sexual abuse of prepubescent children and infants.
Judge Dooley scheduled sentencing for April 8, 2021, at which time Gschlecht faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. The penalties in this matter are enhanced based on Gschlecht’s criminal history.
Gschlecht has been detained since her arrest.
This matter is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the New Haven Police Department, with the assistance of the Connecticut’s Office of Adult Probation. The case is being prosecuted by Nancy V. Gifford.
This prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
To report cases of child exploitation, please visit www.cybertipline.com.