ALBANY, NEW YORK – Lawrence Belcher, age 37, of Troy, New York, pleaded guilty today to attempting to coerce and entice a child to engage in sexual acts with him. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Belcher admitted that between January and April 2022, he sent sexually explicit text messages to someone he believed to be a 13-year-old boy. Belcher asked to meet the child in person in order to engage in sexual acts with the child in his car. On April 14, 2022, Belcher traveled to a motel parking lot in Schenectady County in order to meet and have sex with the child. Belcher was encountered by law enforcement upon his arrival and arrested; he has been in custody since that day.
Belcher has a prior misdemeanor conviction for sexually abusing a child younger than 14 years old, and was a registered sex offender at the time of his arrest in April.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 28, 2022 in Syracuse before United States District Judge Brenda K. Sannes. Belcher faces at least 10 years and up to life in prison, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the statute the defendant is charged with violating, the US Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.
This case was investigated by the FBI and its Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes FBI Special Agents and members of state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Rotterdam and Colonie Police Departments. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Barnett as part of Project Safe Childhood.
Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorney’s offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.