LINCOLN, Neb. (TCD) -- Police arrested a 26-year-old man this week after he allegedly enrolled as a high school student under false pretenses and contacted multiple underage girls.
According to a news release from the Lincoln Police Department, on June 1, the Lincoln Public School District reported an "individual impersonating a student under the name of Zak Hess." The man, later identified as Zachary Scheich, reportedly pretended to be a 17-year-old enrolled at Northwest High School before transferring to Southeast High School during the 2022-2023 school year.
In a July 20 press conference, Lincoln Assistant Chief of Police Brian Jackson said Scheich attended 54 days of school, stands 5-foot-4, and weighs 120 pounds. Jackson noted Scheich "blended in with other students."
Upon further investigation, police discovered Scheich had actually graduated from Lincoln Public Schools in 2015.
While fraudulently enrolled in the school, Scheich allegedly had inappropriate contact with multiple juvenile students on school property.
According to KOLN, police uncovered Scheich’s text messages to young girls. An investigator wrote in the affidavit, "In these text messages, Scheich would continue to reinforce his false identity as a peer and discuss things like classwork and high school sports."
Scheich reportedly kept in contact with the underage girls for months, and he even met the girls’ families.
According to KOLN, Scheich allegedly tried to engage in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl in February. The next month, he reportedly asked a 13-year-old student to meet for sex. KOLN reports he also asked the 13-year-old girl if she’d lose her virginity to him and send sexually explicit photos for money. Investigators reportedly recovered evidence of at least one payment.
Police arrested Scheich on Thursday, July 20, and he was booked into the Lancaster County Jail on felony charges of sexual assault, use of an electronic device, and sex trafficking of a minor. KOLN reports he was arraigned Friday, July 21, and a judge set his bond at $250,000.
Although police arrested Scheich, Jackson said officers are working to "identify the scope of his actions" and have asked anyone with information about the case to contact police.
In a message obtained by KOLN, the school district said they’re cooperating with the investigation.