A 56-year-old instructional coach in the Union County Public Schools district was arrested and charged Tuesday with 10 counts of felony second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, the sheriff stated in a news release.
A cyber tip led to Jeffrey Schneider, of Waxhaw, who was accused of having and downloading images flagged as child pornography.
Detectives said that Schneider is an instructional coach at Sun Valley Middle School and Sun Valley High School.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office searched Schneider’s home in the Skyecroft subdivision early Tuesday morning.
Electronic devices were seized, and Schneider was taken into custody.
Union County Public Schools officials have placed Schneider on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. UCPS hired Schneider in August 2015.
“Our detectives have seen a significant increase in online exploitation cases over the past several years,” Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in the news release. “These offenders believe that they can commit their crimes on the internet and will never be held accountable for their actions. My office remains committed to identifying, locating, and apprehending online predators so that we can ensure the safety of our children and teenagers. I encourage all local parents to monitor their children’s internet activity and to report any suspicious communications their child may receive.”
Schneider currently remains in custody under a secured bond of $50,000.00. His next scheduled court date is on Nov. 8.
‘Infuriated the hell out of me’
Some Sun Valley parents told Channel 9 they were upset, not just with the charges against Schneider but also how they were informed by the principal.
“To let the parents know in an email, as brief as it was, and then I read what the sheriff sent out,” said a parent who didn’t want to be identified. “It didn’t cover half of that.”
The school’s message didn’t identify Schneider and only stated an employee was arrested as part of an internet crimes against children case.
“I got a voicemail message from the principal saying that there was an incident with an instructional coach,” parent Jennifer Kirakidis said.
The school’s message also didn’t mention a search of Schneider’s home, which upset Kirakidis.
“I’ve had to go on to the Union County sheriff’s page and found all of the information on there. Nothing from the school, which has infuriated the hell out of me,” Kirakidis said.
Some parents were frustrated they didn’t get a clearer picture from school leaders.
“Some kids might not know a pedophile, so he can befriend a child and they might not know that their life is in danger with a pedophile,” a parent said.
Message to Sun Valley parents from Principal Harvey:
“Good evening parents, this is Dr. Harvey. I want to let you know about a situation involving one of our employees. An instructional coach assigned to Sun Valley Middle and High School by UCPS was arrested today as part of an ongoing Internet Crimes Against Children investigation. UCPS has placed the employee on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“Parents, I know you may have questions about this case, but because this is an active investigation with the Union County Sheriff’s Office and a personnel matter, I am not at liberty to share any details or answer questions. School and district administrators are working with law enforcement on this investigation.
“We care about our students and their well-being. If your student needs to speak to a counselor, staff will be available to provide support.
“We appreciate your partnership with Sun Valley Middle and High School. Thank you and have a good evening.”
VIDEO: Former YMCA worker charged with child sex crimes now accused of abuse at Camp Thunderbird
Elaine Hadley is a dedicated journalist covering the ever-evolving landscape of U.S. news. With a keen interest in politics and a commitment to uncovering the truth, she provides insightful commentary and in-depth analysis on domestic issues. When not reporting, Elaine enjoys exploring the diverse cultures and landscapes of the United States.