Perry County District Judge Michael Schechterly of Pennsylvania was arrested on Monday and charged with unlawful contact with children after an investigation found that he sexually assaulted at least one young boy. Police know about at least one incident that happened with a 12-year-old boy at his home in 2012 and they believe that he may have abused other children.
The 58-year-old judge was reported to police by numerous parents in the community who had concerns about him acting inappropriately with children through a program that he ran at his church called the “Royal Rangers.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that they also received numerous complaints that he touched himself inappropriately in front of children.
“Serious allegations show this judge violated the trust that the citizens of Perry County placed in him by sexually abusing a little boy. There may be other victims,” Shapiro said, according to PennLive.
“We will hold the powerful and well-connected accountable to law just like everyone else. My office will investigate and prosecute anyone who abuses their authority to harm Pennsylvanians, no matter what position of power they may hold,” he added.
Witnesses told state police Schechterly regularly took children into his district court and his home.
When police searched the judge’s chambers at his district court office, they found stains all over the room that he admitted was probably semen. He blamed what he called a “porn addiction” and said he had a habit of masturbating several times per day, even at his office.
When questioned, Schechterly admitted that he was sexually attracted to young boys, and admitted to sexual contact with the 12-year-old in 2012.
“Regarding stains on surfaces in the district court, he indicated those stains would likely be his semen. In the course of this conversation, Schechterly admitted that as an adolescent he was sexually attracted to boys,” court papers stated.
Schechterly was also charged with corruption of minors and indecent assault. He is currently in police custody at the Cumberland County Prison after being denied bail. He will be back in court on November 23rd.
Authorities are asking anyone with additional information about Schechterly to call Pennsylvania State Police at (717) 881-6937.
Witnesses said Magisterial District Judge Michael Schechterly of Newport regularly brought children into his district court office and home, prosecutors said.https://t.co/LVugZCbFpq
— Legal Intelligencer (@thelegalintel) November 3, 2020
In recent weeks, multiple government agencies have been carrying out operations around the country to rescue missing children, many of whom are victims of human trafficking. On Friday, The Justice Department issued a press release announcing that they just wrapped up a five-day law enforcement operation that they called “Operation Find Our Children.”
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Just last week, a massive law enforcement operation in Ohio called Operation Autumn Hope has resulted in the arrest of 179 people under suspicion of human trafficking, and the rescue of 109 victims, 45 of whom were missing children. Some victims were as young as 14 or 15 years old. The victims were referred to social services, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.