Charges: Extremely Explicit Texts Preceded Pastor’s Arrest
By Deneen Smith
April 19, 2016
|Joshua C. Scheil ( SUBMITTED PHOTO COURTESY WINNEBAGO SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT )|
A Twin Lakes pastor charged with child enticement sent extremely sexually explicit text messages to a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl he met online before attempting to meet her in person, according to court documents.
Joshua C. Scheil, 28, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Twin Lakes, was charged with use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime, attempted child enticement and causing a child under 13 to view or listen to sexual activity.
A representative of Hope Lutheran Church said the church could not comment on the charges, referring calls to the South Wisconsin District synod offices. A call to the president of that office was not returned.
Scheil has been pastor of the Twin Lakes church since July 2013. Twin Lakes police said no local complaints have been brought to the department’s attention.
According to the criminal complaint from Winnebego County, Scheil was arrested by Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department deputies on April 12 when he showed up at a county park in Oshkosh for what he believed was a meeting with a 13-year-old girl that he planned, according to his texts, to take to a hotel for sex.
Prior to the meeting, he had sent numerous extremely sexually explicit messages and photos, including photos of his genitals, to a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl named Maddy.
In fact, the person with whom he had been corresponding was a Winnebago County deputy working on an undercover operation investigating online sexual predators. Scheil made contact with the “girl” on the website TeenChat.com, where Scheil identified himself as a 27-year-old white male from Wisconsin.
After chatting online with the supposed 13-year-old, Scheil — who used the name Rev — switched his conversations with the girl to Kik, an instant messaging application for mobile devices.
In conversations that began in March, Scheil said he would be in Oshkosh between April 11-13 and later arranged the meeting at the park. He said he would take her to a hotel and described the sex acts he hoped to perform.
On his arrest at the park, Scheil — who had his phone in his hand with a messenger application open and the undercover officer’s fictitious username and photo displayed on the phone — claimed officers were mistaken.
According to the criminal complaint, he told officers “it made him sick that people try to manipulate children” and that “he was just trying to warn the child coming to the park today.”
Scheil was in Oshkosh for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s spring pastor conference and what he told officers was a focus on “Confessing Christ for the Next Generation.”