The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that on November 23, 2021, Randy Sheltra, 59, of Alburgh, Vermont, was sentenced in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont, to serve 15 years of imprisonment following his conviction, after a six-day jury trial, of two counts of attempting to persuade, induce, and entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity, and one count of attempted receipt of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss also ordered Sheltra to serve a 30-year term of supervised release and to pay a special assessment of $300.
According to court records and proceedings, on September 7, 2017, Sheltra began communicating with a person whom he believed was the mother of a 10-year-old girl responding to his post on Craigslist. In reality, the woman was an undercover law enforcement officer. During communications between Sheltra and the undercover over the following three days, Sheltra attempted to persuade the woman to permit her 10-year-old daughter to engage in sexual activity with him. Law enforcement arrested Sheltra on September 10, 2017, when he arrived at a park in South Burlington to meet the woman and her daughter for sexual activity. Law enforcement seized Sheltra’s cell phone at the time of his arrest. Communications contained within the phone showed that in August 2017, Sheltra had attempted to persuade a real 15-year-old Vermont girl to engage in sexual activity with him and had, in fact, met with the child for sexual activity. Sheltra also asked the child to send him explicit photographs.
In imposing Sheltra’s sentence, Judge Reiss found that Sheltra obstructed justice when he provided false testimony at his trial and qualified as a “repeat and dangerous” sex offender.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan A. Ophardt commended the efforts of Homeland Security Investigations and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in the investigation and prosecution of Sheltra.
The prosecution of Sheltra was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barbara A. Masterson and Andrew C. Gilman. Sheltra was represented by Mark Kaplan of Kaplan & Kaplan.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and Child Exploitation Obscenity Section, Criminal Division (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.