A Baldwin-Whitehall school bus driver used a telephone dating service to meet a 15-year-old boy he later sexually assaulted, according to an Allegheny County criminal complaint.
Allegheny County police last week charged William H. Scherz Sr., 73, of Brentwood, with corruption of minors, sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, among other offenses.
Mr. Scherz met the boy on a phone dating service called Megamates, where the boy claimed to be 18 and invited Mr. Scherz to his house, according to the complaint.
Megamates' terms of service require that all members be at least 18, but it is not uncommon for younger users to establish profiles on the phone dating service, according to Jimmy Jones, a marketer for the company.
If Megamates suspects a user is lying about their age, the company immediately suspends the questionable account and requires a faxed driver's license to reactivate it. Their staff continuously monitors both public and private voice recordings for signs of underage use. If they have proof that a user is underage, their staff of about 40 deletes the account, according to Mr. Jones.
Nonetheless, a 15-year-old boy used the service to meet Mr. Scherz last month, according to the criminal complaint.
The boy told police that when Mr. Scherz arrived at his house, he told Mr. Scherz he was 15, but Mr. Scherz tried to kiss him and he pushed Mr. Scherz away. He also said Mr. Scherz subjected him to forcible oral sex, according to the complaint.
Mr. Scherz served as a school bus driver for the Baldwin-Whitehall School District, where he had to clear a state criminal history, FBI and child abuse history. He passed all three, according to superintendent Randal Lutz.
"He's no longer driving for us. This wasn't an act committed on a job nor with any students under his care through his role as a driver," Mr. Lutz said.
Mr. Scherz posted 10 percent in cash of $10,000 bail and was released Jan. 24, according to court documents. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 25.
Alex Zimmerman: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3909.