LANCASTER – A 46-year-old man pleaded no contest Monday to multiple felony counts for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old Lancaster girl he met via Facebook in 2012.
Jury selection had already begun for the trial of Michael Scheetz of Westerville, Ohio, when he entered his plea to seven of eight counts – two counts of committing a lewd act on a child and one count each of forcible rape, meeting a minor for lewd purposes, contact with a minor for sexual offense, attempted kidnapping to commit another crime and criminal threats.
One count of kidnapping to commit another crime is expected to be dropped when Scheetz is sentenced.
Detectives said Scheetz traveled from Ohio to Lancaster in late September of 2012 for the express purpose of meeting the girl for sex, even though he knew she was underage.
Testifying at a preliminary hearing in October of 2012, the victim said ran away from a local group home and met up with Scheetz behind the Burger King on Avenue I and 13th Street West in Lancaster. She said the two walked over to the University of Phoenix’s Lancaster campus on Avenue J, where Scheetz raped her.
After the victim was reported missing, investigators “pinged” the victim’s cellphone and found Scheetz talking on the cellphone, Lancaster sheriff’s deputy Brian Clinkscales said at a preliminary court hearing.
Scheetz initially tried to lie to detectives, but he eventually directed deputies to the victim, according to court testimony from sheriff’s detective Bradley Feehan.
“She started crying and said, ‘he raped me,’” Feehan testified. [Read more here.]
Scheetz has been jailed since his 2012 arrest on $1.275 million bail.
He is expected to be sentenced July 17 to 26 years and two months in state prison and ordered to register for life as a sex offender, according to Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami.
[City News Service contributed to this report.]
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