A man in his mid-20s is facing some very serious charges after police discovered a bizarre deception scheme fooled two high schools.
According to KLKN-TV, in Lincoln, Nebraska, 26-year-old Zachary Scheich of Lincoln attended 54 days of school at two schools last school year, pretending to be a 17-year-old student named Zak Hess.
Scheich began attending Northwest High School in October of 2022 before transferring to Southeast High School in January, which he actually graduated in 2015, KLKN reported. He was registered for summer school but did not attend.
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, at the beginning of June, Lincoln police began a fraud investigation after receiving information about a tip to Lincoln Public Schools that a man impersonating a student had been attending two area high schools.
On Thursday, Scheich was arrested by police and is now being charged with two counts of sexual assault using an electronic device and one count of sex trafficking of a minor.
NE: 26-year-old Zachary Scheich who posed as high school student arrested on child sex crime charges.
Enrolled under the name Zak Hess at Northwest High School.https://t.co/73921GTs6Q
— Dalton (@DaltonReport) July 21, 2023
According to KETV-TV in Omaha, a search of Scheich’s phone showed that he engaged in texting with minors, using his school experiences to “reinforce his false identity.”
He sent what KETV called “sexually explicit” messages to a 14-year-old girl, and sent a 13-year-old girl money for nude photos.
According to KETV, Sheich admitted sending the messages but denied sexually assaulting any minors.
According to police, none of the contact Scheich had with minors was on school grounds.
When asked how a 26-year-old man could possibly have been allowed in a high school, LPS Director of Security Joe Wright said that not all students have documentation and that the school district has a “statutory responsibility” to educate all children under the age of 20.
“I don’t foresee any changes because of the requirements that we have to educate all kids,” he told KLKN. “But obviously, something like this makes us look to where we could go. We’ve just started that process.”
Now, Scheich has not been convicted of any crime yet, nor is there conclusive proof that he did anything to students at the schools that he was attending.
Nevertheless, given the circumstances of the case, it does seem possible that he was using the school as a way to find more children to rope into his alleged trafficking scheme.
Parents and school administrators need to be aware that, unfortunately, these types of things are happening in our schools, and that child sex trafficking is a real danger.
The recently released movie “Sound of Freedom” reminds us of this sobering reality, and it, combined with this horrific story out of Nebraska, should wake us up to this problem.
Parents have a duty to ensure that their children are safe from harm, and school administrators take over that duty for the hours in a day that the children are in their custody.
What happened in Lincoln was a failure by the school administrators to properly vet their enrollments, and as a result, their students were put in harm’s way.
Child sex trafficking is a major problem that has gone unnoticed by most Americans, but it is something that we need to solve in order to keep children safe.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.