- A 26-year-old Nebraska man posed as a high-school student and now faces sex-trafficking charges, authorities said.
- The man “appears to have blended in with other students” and attended 54 days of class, police said.
- He’s one of several adults arrested this year for posing as teenagers to attend high-school classes.
A 26-year-old Nebraska man is facing sex-trafficking charges after impersonating a 17-year-old high school student and attended classes.
The Lincoln Police Department said in a statement Thursday that Zachary Scheich attended 54 days of class at two local high schools. Being just 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds, Scheich “appears to have blended in with other students.”
Police said the school district had been alerted about an individual enrolled under the name “Zak Hess” and authorities later determined he had actually graduated from that same school district in 2015.
The police investigation also found that Scheich had been interacting with multiple students, and those interactions “generated information sufficient for an arrest warrant,” the statement said. Police did not release any further details on the nature of Scheich’s interactions with students.
Jail records show Scheich has been charged with sex trafficking of a minor, as well as two counts of child enticement with an electronic communications device. He is being held in jail on a $250,000 bond. Court records did not name an attorney for Scheich.
Scheich is far from the only adult who’s been caught pretending to be a teenager and enrolling in high school. Just last month, a 28-year-old Louisiana woman was arrested and accused of attending a local high school for the 2022-2023 school year using a fake passport and birth certificate.
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said the woman had enrolled in the high school to learn English, and had not committed any crimes or inappropriate conduct. Both the woman and her mother were charged with one count of injuring public records.
In March 2023, a 29-year-old woman similarly deceived school administrators with a fake birth certificate so she could enroll in a New Jersey high school. The woman attended classes for four days, and raised suspicions among students when she sought to meet up with them outside of school.
Her attorney later told The New York Times the woman, Hyejong Shin, had been lonely and missed the sense of security she felt when she was a student at a Massachusetts boarding school. Shin had been recently divorced and missed her family in South Korea, her attorney said.
“It’s very bizarre,” Darren Gelber told The Times. “And it may be difficult for people to understand.”