The U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has fired Russell Rappel-Schmid, their Chief Data Officer, after he was arrested on suspicion of attempting to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex.
A spokesperson for the PRC confirmed by email that Rappel-Schmid, 52, was hired in February and was attending a conference in San Diego, California, when he was arrested by local police.
First reported by 10News, Rappel-Schmid’s arrest was brought about by the “People versus Predators,” a group, which confronted Rappel-Schmid in a recorded incident, accusing him of trying to meet an underage boy for sex. In the video, Rappel-Schmid denied all accusations, insisting that he didn’t know why the man recording the video had a photo of him, or why they knew his name and where he was going to be sitting.
The group later posted another video showing local police arresting Rappel-Schmid. The incident was confirmed by arrest records, which stated that he was taken into custody on suspicion of meeting or attempting to meet a minor for lewd purposes, according to The San Diego Union Tribune. He has since been released from the city’s Central Jail after spending the night locked up.
His attorney, Peter Blair, on Wednesday rejected requests for comment, saying that “there has been no evidence presented and the prosecutor has not filed charges.” Blair added that he could not “speak to any allegation made by independent third parties,” a likely reference to the People v. Preds group.
As a result of the incident, Rappel-Schmid’s employment with the PRC was terminated. The agency quickly removed his profile from their website.
“The Postal Regulatory Commission has become aware of the recent arrest of one of our employees,” the agency said in a statement. “Upon becoming aware of this information, the Commission has terminated this employee effective immediately. The Commission is shocked and horrified at these serious allegations and maintains a steadfast commitment to promptly deal with any claims of employee misconduct.”
Prior to working at the PRC, Rappel-Schmid worked at the USPS Office of Inspector General as a member of the data analytics team. He also reportedly spent two decades in the Marine Corps, where he served as an audit manager and aircraft firefighter.
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
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