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 went as Zak Hess and posed as a 17-year-old to attend two high schools in Lincoln during the 2022-23 school year, police said at a news conference Thursday.
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, police Assistant Chief Brian Jackson said.
“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 learned of additional contacts he had with juvenile students.”
The allegations include text messages between Scheich and minor girls, CBS affiliate KOLN of Lincoln reported, citing court documents.
Scheich allegedly asked for “pornographic material” from a student whom he had previously paid, ABC affiliate KLKN reported, also 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 detail the allegations, but he said that sex trafficking of a minor can be charged “if you coerce or pay for certain items.”
Scheich used “convincing fake documents” to enroll, Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Paul Gausman said Friday. Scheich is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 120 pounds.
"This individual, while looking like a high school student, also presented incredibly well-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 Director of Security Joe Wright said.
He attended a total of 54 days at two high schools in the last school year. He first enrolled in 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 in enrolling, Matt Larson, Lincoln Public Schools associate superintendent for educational services, said Friday.
The documents aren't typically verified for enrolling students, he said.
"We take students' words for these documents. We're reviewing all of our enrollment processes right now," Larson said.
The district also said that they were working on other safeguards, like multiple in-person conversations with parents and guardians of an enrolling student.
Schiech enrolled 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 in connection with him in public records was not accepting calls Friday night.
Scheich graduated from Lincoln Public Schools in 2015, officials said.