Nebraska man who posed as high school student charged with sex 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 this week on sex-related charges, Lincoln police said.

Zachary Scheich went as Zak Hess and posed as a 17-year-old to attend two Lincoln high schools 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, Deputy Chief of Police Brian Jackson said.

Lincoln Police Department in Lincoln, Neb.  (Google Maps)

Lincoln Police Department in Lincoln, Neb. (Google Maps)

“He went to school as a student, he took classes. That was the original investigation,” Jackson told a news conference. “And as the investigation progressed, we learned that he had additional contact with underage students.”

The allegations include text messages between Scheich and underage girls, CBS affiliate KOLN of Lincoln reported, citing court documents.

Scheich allegedly demanded “pornographic material” from a student he had already paid, ABC affiliate KLKN reported, also citing court documents.

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

On Thursday, Jackson did not detail the allegations, but he said sex trafficking a minor can be charged “if you coerce or pay for certain items.”

Scheich used “convincing false documents” to enroll, Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Paul Gausman said Friday. Scheich is 5-foot-4 and weighs 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 Safety Joe Wright said.

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

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

Documents are generally not checked for student registration, he said.

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

The district also said it is working on other safeguards, such as multiple in-person conversations with an enrolled student’s parents and guardians.

Schiech registered and submitted the documents online, Larson said. He said that was 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 accepting calls Friday night.

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

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