Perry County MDJ charged: Sexual assault charges filed

arrest made

A Perry County Magisterial District Judge faces sexual assault charges as a result of an investigation by the Attorney General’s office and Pennsylvania State Police.

sexual assault charges
MDJ Michael Schechterly

Michael Schechterly, 58, of Newport in Perry County, is charged with Unlawful Contact with Children, Corruption of Minors, and Indecent Assault, according to AG Josh Shapiro.

Schechterly has been a magisterial district judge since 2011 and is active in his community, Shapiro said in a news release. The charges stem from incidents that allegedly happened in 2015, according to online court records.

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Concerns from community members about Schechterly’s contact with children triggered an investigation by the State Police, the news release said. Investigators determined from witness interviews that Schechterly regularly brought children into his district court office and home.

Schechterly allegedly made contact with children through a church program, the “Royal Rangers” where he served as “Commander Mike.”

The investigation revealed that Schechterly allegedly sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy at his residence in 2012. On another occasion, a witness reported that Schechterly touched his own genitals in the presence of the child.  

Charges include:

  • Unlawful Contact With Minor – Sexual Offenses, a third degree felon
  • Corruption of Minors, a first degree misdemeanor
  • Unlawful Contact With Minor – Open Lewdness, a third degree felony
  • Indecent Assault Person Less than 13 Years of Age, a first degree misdemeanor
  • Unlawful Contact With Minor – Prostitution, a third degree felony
  • Unlawful Contact With Minor – Obscene and Other Sexual Materials and Performances, a third degree felony
  • Contact/Communication with Minor-Sexual Abuse, a third degree felony
  • Unlawful Contact W/ Minor – Sexual Exploitation, a second degree felony

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Allegations termed “serious”

“(Allegations) show this judge violated the trust citizens of Perry County placed in him by sexually abusing a little boy,” Shapiro said.

He warned further investigation might turn up other victims; and asked anyone with information about such crimes contact PSP’s hotline at 717-881-6937.

“We will hold the powerful and well-connected accountable to law just like everyone else,” Shapiro said. “My office will investigate and prosecute anyone who abuses their authority to harm Pennsylvanians; no matter what position of power they may hold.”

“Protecting our children is of the utmost importance,” said Captain Matthew Nickey, PSP Troop H commander. “The citizens we serve can be reassured that 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.”

Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Daniel J. Dye is prosecuting the case. All charges discussed are accusations.

Schechterly is being in Cumberland County Jail pending a preliminary hearing Nov. 23. Magisterial District Judge Jonathan R. Birbeck denied bail in the case, citing danger to the public and to Schechterly.

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