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A former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton who used a teenage boy in Moscow as a “sex slave” has been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Pennsylvania federal judge on charges of traveling for the purpose of engaging in sex with a minor. Kenneth Schneider was one of the original lawyers working in Debevoise’s Moscow office when it opened in 1998, the firm confirms. That summer, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which investigated the case, Schneider told two ballet instructors at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography that he was willing to provide “assistance” to students attending the academy. The teachers referred him to a 12-year old boy whose family could no longer afford to pay his board. Schneider convinced the boy’s parents to allow him to live with him in an apartment near the school. According to ICE, between Aug. 22, 2000, and Nov. 22, 2001, Schneider engaged in a sexual relationship with the boy, bringing him to Philadelphia for a summer program in 2001, then returning to Moscow with the victim in August 2001 to continue the sexual relationship. He was arrested in 2010 in Cyprus, then swiftly extradited and convicted by a federal jury in October 2010. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, during the sentencing hearing on Dec. 1, Judge Juan Sanchez of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania called Schneider a “monster” who forced the boy to become his “sex slave” for six years. The judge said, “You destroyed a life and expressed no remorse whatsoever and have acted like a victim of this crime.” In online biographical statements, Schneider said he earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, and described himself as “one of the most recognized international lawyers practicing in the former Soviet Union.” A Debevoise spokeswoman declines comment, but confirmed that he worked at the firm from November 1997 until February 2000. Schneider went on to became the founder and president of the nonprofit Apogee Foundation. According to the foundation’s Web site, its mission is to “discover, develop and celebrate the highest point of human excellence as experienced and expressed in the performance arts.” In a 2006 interview with the Harvard College Law Journal, Schneider seemed to describe the relationship with the boy in the case. “A huge turning point came in 1998 when instructors I’d befriended at one of the most famous performing arts training institutions in the former Soviet Union asked me to help an extremely gifted young student who had been thrown out on the street because his parents, both former artists, had lost their work and couldn’t pay some obscure amount. Apogee already had been taking shape for a year, at that point, and we’d done a great deal for that particular institution — so we managed to put this kid back in school and to build around him support structures which we’ve since provided to hundreds of gifted students across Eurasia.” Jenna Greene can be contacted at [email protected].

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