Lincoln, Nebraska – A 26-year-old man has been charged with sex crimes after enrolling in a public school district in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he pretended to be 17, police say.
Zachary Scheich was arrested Thursday and faces two counts of sexual assault with use of an electronic communication device, which includes any attempt to “knowingly solicit, coax, entice or lure” a child 16 years or younger to engage in sexual activity, according to the Lincoln Police Department.
Scheich is also charged with one count of sex trafficking of a minor.
CNN reported that Scheich allegedly attended two high schools in the Lincoln school district during the last academic year, attending classes for approximately 54 days, police say.
“The district had been alerted about an individual impersonating a student who had been enrolled under the name of Zak Hess,” the Lincoln Police Department said in a written statement.
Scheich was first enrolled at Northwest High School during the first semester of the 2022-2023 academic year and then transferred to Southeast High School during the second semester, police noted in the statement.
During a news conference Friday, Lincoln Public Schools superintendent Paul Gausman said Scheich had enrolled by submitting a birth certificate, an out-of-district high school transcript and immunization records.
According to Gausman, those documents were fraudulent.
An arrest warrant obtained by KOLN says police gained access to Scheich’s cell phone during a search of his home and “found text messages exchanged between Scheich and minor females.”
During an interview with authorities, Scheich allegedly admitted to pretending to be a student at the school and sending explicit messages to children but said he did not sexually assault any of them.
Bond for Scheich was set at $250,000 during a court hearing on Friday.