Feds Charge Harriton High School English Teacher with Child Porn
Jeremy Schobel allegedly posed as a teenage girl to obtain explicit photos and videos from actual teenage girls.
On Thursday, federal authorities charged Harriton High School English teacher Jeremy Schobel with enticement of a minor to engage in illicit sexual conduct and manufacture and attempted manufacture of child pornography.
According to court documents, the investigation into Schobel, 31, began last November when the social media app Yubo sent a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that one of its users appeared to be grooming minors.
The feds say that person was using the online names “sophiavan423″ and “jillmoreno,” both of whom were supposedly underaged girls looking for relationships with other girls, and carrying on conversations with those girls on SnapChat after making initial contact on Yubo. But, allege the feds, it was Schobel behind those two accounts all along.
Using cell phone numbers and other information connected to those accounts, investigators were able to identify Schobel as the suspect. They quickly realized he was a teacher at Harriton — where he’d been on staff since 2021 — and were able to determine that some of the GPS data obtained from SnapChat via a search warrant went directly to the address for the high school.
Disturbing transcripts from court documents show the person alleged to be Schobel having explicit conversations with girls and trading photos and videos with them.
The FBI arrested Schobel at his home in the Point Breeze section of South Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon.
According to court records, Schobel “admitted to creating both fake profiles … and to posing as an underage girl so that he could communicate with minor teenaged girls … He admitted he did so to obtain sexually explicit images, which he then used to masturbate. He advised agents that he had committed these crimes for years, and communicated with many underaged girls … .”
On Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Lower Merion School District issued the following statement:
Yesterday evening, officials in the Lower Merion School District were notified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that Harriton High School English teacher Jeremy Schobel had been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Schobel faces federal charges of Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct, 18 USC 2422(b) and of Manufacture and Attempted Manufacture of Child Pornography, in violation of 18 USC 2251. Further, the FBI investigation alleges that Mr. Schobel may have engaged in these activities during working hours using an IP address associated with LMSD.
The Lower Merion School District is cooperating fully with law enforcement. Pending the disposition of this matter, Mr. Schobel’s employment has been suspended and his access to District devices and networks has been terminated.
Mr. Schobel joined the Lower Merion School District prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year. He had no prior record that would have precluded his hiring. While we understand that this is an ongoing investigation, at this time, LMSD is not aware of any inappropriate interactions between Mr. Schobel and LMSD students.
Additionally, the District had not received any complaints or concerns from students or staff regarding his conduct in school.
If any students, staff or families have relevant information regarding the allegations against Mr. Schobel, they are urged to share that information with law enforcement by contacting Robert Nelson of the FBI at 215-418-4000.
Counselors at Harriton High School will be available to students and staff who need support in light of this disturbing news.
We were advised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office not to share information prior to the hearing today and LMSD will have no further comment on this case. For any additional information, contact Michelle Rotella of the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 215-861-8471.