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Arts Philanthropist Kenneth Schneider Found Guilty on Sex Tourism Charges

Kenneth Schneider(CBS/AP)
Arts Philanthropist Kenneth Schneider Found Guilty of Sex Tourism
Kenneth Schneider(CBS/AP)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) Arts philanthropist and attorney Kenneth Schneider was convicted Friday on federal sex tourism charges.

Prosecutors say Schneider traveled to Moscow in 1998 and met Roman Zavarov, then 12 years old, who was a student at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

As the founder of the Apogee Foundation, which, according to its website, strives to "discover and assist extremely gifted performing artists," Schneider offered to pay Zavarov's tuition at the prestigious institution and suggested that the boy live with him in his apartment, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Over the course of eight years, the relationship between Zavarov and Schneider escalated, Zavarov, who is now 24, testified. Schneider would give the young boy gifts, clothing, and food, but urged young Zavarov to keep their relationship a secret, says the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 2001, Schneider and Zavarov traveled to Philadelphia where the boy was enrolled in a summer dance program, and later they returned to Moscow to continue their relationship.

Yesterday's verdict was satisfying for Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan-Kelly who told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she hoped the verdict would offer closure to Zavarov.

"Certainly the victim has suffered a great deal of anguish and depression," Morgan-Kelly said.

According to the Inquirer, Schneider was convicted of transporting a person for criminal sexual conduct and traveling for the purpose of having sex with a minor.

March 31, 2010 - Kenneth Schneider, Philadelphia Philanthropist, Charged in Sex Abuse of Minor