A Pennsylvania Christian academy volunteer who was found guilty of secretly videotaping male foreign exchange students from the school in their bedrooms and bathrooms, told a judge that he committed the crimes because he was "rebelling against God."
Michael Scheele, 43, who volunteered at the Faith Christian Academy (FCA) in Sayersville, Penn., had three FCA students from Korea boarding at his home. Scheele placed hidden cameras in the boys' bedrooms and bathrooms, and invited four other students to his home in order to film them. He also let the students drink alcohol and let them play with unloaded guns and sex toys, reported The Morning Call.
In front of the judge, Scheele said his personal issues, including a father who was "pushing him away" and a daughter with a severe case of diabetes, had caused him to act out.
"I was rebelling against God because of all the bad things going on in my life," Scheeler said. "There's no disputing the fact that I showed extremely poor judgment. You get a bunch of teenage guys together and you start drinking, stupid things happen."
Lehigh County Senior Judge Lawrence J. Brenner did not accept the excuse.
"You blame it on your father, your diabetic daughter, an 18-year-old boy. Let's look at you," the judge said. "You took young boys who were in your trust. You were a father figure and you violated that trust."
The judge sentenced Scheeler to 55 months to 26 years in state prison on possession of child pornography and invasion of privacy charges.
According to court records obtained by The Morning Call, an investigation was launched earlier this year after Scheeler told one of the students he had caught him masturbating on video. The student did not believe Scheeler initially, so Scheeler showed him the video.
Afterward, the student searched Scheeler's laptop and desk and found several videos of fellow students doing compromising things.
Once detectives searched Scheeler's home, they found 57 CDs containing videos and pictures of the boys in the bathroom, undressing, using the toilet, and masturbating.
Scheeler also let the boys play with his guns, and in one photo, a student is holding a gun to another's head.
It is unclear how Scheeler became a host parent to three students from the Faith Christian Academy or what precautions the school takes to screen people who board their students. A phone call and an email to Ryan Clymer, the school's administrator, were not returned by time of press.
However, in an interview with The Morning Call in January, 2011, Clymer said the school's screening of host parents includes "criminal background checks, one-on-one interviews and visits to the home."