April 18, 2024

A Nebraska man who was a high school student accused of sex-related crimes

A 26-year-old Nebraska man who posed as a 17-year-old and attended high school for more than 50 days was arrested on sex-related charges this week, Lincoln police said.

Zachary Scheich as Zak Hess and a job as a 17-year-old to attend two high schools in Lincoln during the 2022-23 school year, said police at a Thursday news conference.

He is charged with two counts of sexual assault using an electronic device and one count of sex trafficking of a minor. Police arrested him Thursday afternoon at a library, Assistant Police Chief Brian Jackson said.

Lincoln Police Department in Lincoln, Neb.Google Maps

“He attended school as a student, he attended classes. That was the initial investigation,” Jackson said at a news conference. “And as the investigation progressed, we found out about additional contacts he had with young students.”

The allegations include text messages between Scheich and minor girls, CBS affiliate KOLN of Lincoln reportedciting court documents.

Scheich allegedly solicited “pornographic material” from a student he had previously paid, ABC affiliate KLKN reportedalso citing court documents.

Court records did not appear to be publicly available online. The Lancaster County Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment or details about the case Friday night.

Jackson on Thursday did not elaborate on the allegations, but said sex trafficking of a minor could be charged “if you coerce or pay for certain items.”

Scheich used “persuasive fake documents” to enroll, Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Paul Gausman said Friday. Scheich is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 120 pounds.

“And this person, even though he looked like a high school student, he presented extremely crafted fraudulent documents,” he said.

Police began their investigation into Scheich on June 1, officials said.

A concerned parent contacted a school administrator and the school district contacted police, Lincoln Public Schools Security Director Joe Wright said.

He attended a total of 54 days at two high schools in the last school year. He first enrolled at Northwest High School during the first semester, then transferred to Southeast High School during the second, police said.

Scheich used a fraudulent birth certificate, immunization records, a high school transcript and a physical from a clinic during enrollment, Matt Larson, Lincoln Public Schools’ associate superintendent for educational services, said Friday.

Documents are usually not verified to register students, he said.

“We take the students’ word for these documents. We’re reviewing all of our enrollment processes right now,” Larson said.

The district also said it was working on other safeguards, such as multiple in-person conversations with parents and guardians of students who are enrolling.

Schiech registered and submitted the documents online, Larson said. He said that is not unusual.

Schiech began attending the first school on Oct. 20, and transferred to the second on Jan. 12, the district said.

It was not immediately clear if Schiech had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. A phone number listed for him in public records was not taking calls Friday night.

Scheich graduated from Lincoln Public Schools in 2015, officials said.

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