Depew man arrested, charged after sending alleged sexual messages in effort to meet with group posing as a 13-year-old girl

Crime

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A retired school teacher from Maryland and Depew resident was arrested and charged after allegedly sending sexually charged messages to a supposed 13-year-old girl and planned to meet her at a store in Buffalo.

The United States Attorney’s office says an online group known as “Predator Poacher” maintains online accounts posing as minors to chat with adults who are looking for sexual contact. The group works to expose online predators.

Richard Scherer, 70, of Depew was contacted on Instagram by the online group posing as a 13-year-old girl. Scherer, a retired Maryland school teacher, believing he was speaking with a 13-year-old girl allegedly sent sexual messages and planned to meet the supposed girl at a Buffalo store. He maintained contact with the account between April and June 2021.

In his messages to the Instagram account, he supposedly spoke about his experience as a teacher and time as sexual education instructor.

On June 27, the 70-year-old arrived at the meeting location where he was greeted by members of Predator Poacher. The group questioned him for nearly an hour where he allegedly admitted to being a pedophile, according to the USAO. Buffalo Police were called after the group finished questioning Scherer.

In the complaint against Scherer, he’s also accused of allegedly communicating with a member of Predator Poacher, posing as an 8-year-old girl. The messages were alleged to be sexually graphic.

Authorities searched his cell phone and found two pictures of child pornography.

Scherer was arrested and charged by complaint with the enticement of a minor and possession of child pornography. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison — a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Scherer was a teacher in Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools for about 25 years. During the investigation into Scherer, a June 23, 2011 report from the district surfaced claiming the parent of a fourth-grade student was concerned about possible inappropriate behavior with students.

A portion of the report alleged when Scherer had lunch with a specific student, “he pulls her to him and hugs her, that he has patted her rear end and hips, and that he pressures her to each lunch with him.” The parent who filed the complaint mentioned that her daughter and her daughter’s friends felt pressured to have lunch with the teacher.

By September 2011, the superintendent of the district contacted the State of Maryland Superintendent of Schools notifying them Scherer had resigned as a result of the allegations. The MMCPS superintendent advised the state to rescind Scherer’s teaching certificate. The certificate was revoked.

Those who might have information about the case are asked to call the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 716-843-1680.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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