True identity of ‘high school student’ exposed as he’s arrested for sex offences

A 26-year-old man who enrolled at two different high schools under an assumed name has been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences.

Zachary Scheich used the name Zak Hess when he signed up to Northwest High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, in October 2022, transferring to Southeast High School in January this year. He had claimed to be 17 years old.

The slim-built suspect, at 5’4” and about eight stone, “blended in” with other students. He was arrested at a library on Thursday morning. He has been charged with two counts of sexual assault using an electronic device and sex trafficking a minor.

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The police investigation began in June and a spokesman said they were looking into “multiple contacts with juvenile students by Scheich under the false name of Hess”.

They added the authorities have a list of victims who still have yet to be interviewed. All of the victims identified so far are female.

Explaining the charges, the police spokesman added: “He was engaging with these students using the devices – that could be phones or computers,” and of the sex-trafficking charge, said: “If you coerce …or pay for certain items you can be charged with that.”

Asked how Scheich had managed to enrol in the schools without a parent present, he said police were looking into whether anyone else was involved into the deception.

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Lincoln Public Schools Director of Security Joe Wright said: “I’ve been in the district for 10 years, and this is the first time that I can remember something like this happening.”

He added the minimal requirements for enrolling in a public high school are a valid birth certificate, immunisation records and transcripts from a previous school.

Although, he added: “What’s provided to us is sometimes not as thorough as I’d like or proof-positive, as this kind of case would make you think about…"

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Wright said state law currently bars the district from adding further requirements.

“I don’t foresee any changes because of the requirements that we have to educate all kids,” he said. “But obviously, something like this makes us look to where we could go. We’ve just started that process.”

He added the parents of children at both schools have been notified.

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