NEWPORT, Pa. — A Perry County Magisterial District Judge has been charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy in his home during an incident in 2012, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Monday.
Michael Schechterly, 58, of Newport, is charged with unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minor, and indecent assault, Shapiro said. He was taken into custody following an investigation by State Police in cooperation with Shapiro's office.
“Serious allegations show this judge violated the trust that the citizens of Perry County placed in him by sexually abusing a little boy,” Shapiro said in a press release announcing Schechterly's arrest. “There may be other victims. If you have any information about Michael Schechterly, please call the Pennsylvania State Police hotline at 717-881-6937.
"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.”
Schechterly was elected to serve as a magisterial district judge in 2011, and had established an active role in his community, Shapiro said. However, concerns from community members regarding Schechterly’s contact with children triggered an investigation by the State Police.
Investigators who interviewed witnesses determined that Schecterly regularly brought children into his district court office and home, Shapiro said. Schecterly made contact with many children through a program in his church known as the “Royal Rangers” where he served as “Commander Mike.”
The investigation revealed that Schecterly allegedly sexually assaulted the victim his residence in 2012, Shapiro said.
On another occasion, a witness reported that Schecterly touched his own genitals in the presence of the child, according to Shapiro.
“Protecting our children is of the utmost importance,” said Captain Matthew Nickey, commander of the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop H, Harrisburg. “The citizens we serve can be reassured that the Pennsylvania State Police work tirelessly to provide a fair and complete investigation. I would like to thank all of the agencies who assisted in this case.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Daniel J. Dye.
All charges discussed are accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.