SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A federal judge sentenced a former Sioux Falls Police officer to 10 years behind bars for sending sexually explicit messages to someone he believed to be a child.
It’s the minimum sentence for the federal crime. The maximum sentence for attempting to entice a minor on the internet is life in prison.
29-year-old Luke Schauer was a Sioux Falls Police Officer for six and a half years.
“Whether you’re from one department or another, you know, it’s still, you’re still all part of the same main goal and that’s to serve and protect the public,” former SFPD officer Luke Schauer said in 2016.
But in February of 2022, Schauer was arrested after he was caught sending sexual messages to an undercover FBI agent posing as a 12-year-old girl.
“Upon learning of these allegations, he didn’t work another shift for our agency and we want to stress that,” Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum said in 2022.
As part of a plea agreement, two other charges were dropped including attempted production of child pornography. Now, almost a year after his arrest, a judge has sentenced Schauer to 10 years in prison.
In federal court Thursday, Schauer said he is “deeply ashamed” of what he did and it “went against everything he believed in.” He was in tears as he spoke about his family, saying he doesn’t want to miss out on his children growing up. Judge Karen Schreier said she received multiple letters in support of Schauer — and two supporters even spoke in court.
On the prosecutor’s side, the lead attorney said he never thought he’d have to prosecute a law enforcement officer, saying the crime not only reflects badly on Schauer but also the law enforcement community in general.
That’s a sentiment Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum recognized when Schauer was first arrested.
“We can’t deny the fact that events like this tarnish the badge in the eyes of some. We will continue to work hard every day to maintain this great community’s trust and rebuild any trust we may have lost for some. We will not let the allegations against an individual overshadow the outstanding people we employ and the great work they do every day,” Thum said.
The Sioux Falls Police Department terminated Schauer after learning of the investigation.