Schragger Held for Trial on Sexual Assault Charges

Morning Call: At a preliminary hearing Thursday, a judge in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania ruled that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial. Ben Schragger, known in the SCA as Ben the Steward, is accused by local authorities of improper sexual activity with as many as 13 minors, according to an article published Thursday in Morning Call.

Ben the Steward was the Dean of Pages in the East Kingdom, and the press coverage of this case has repeatedly mentioned the SCA connection to the alleged crime.

According to the latest Morning Call article, Schragger's face had been injured when he appeared at the preliminary hearing. He has been held in Lehigh County Prison prior to today's hearing.

Friends continue to express surprise at the charges, with one person saying he is "having a hard time believing any of these charges."

In a separate phone conversation with SCAtoday.net, Schragger's attorney, John Walton, said that it will probably be several months before the trial begins.

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The accusations

According to the Morning Call ( http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_5schraggernov07,0,1302848.story?c... ), Ben is accused of having had sex or improper conduct with (currently) 13 young boys and girls. SCA parents thoughout East Kingdom who's children may have had contact with Ben are now going to get increasingly concerned about what has, or may have been, been concealed from them. The implicit trust relationship among SCAdians is in danger.

The big thing that will be the next topic of concern, is what is Ben's HIV status?

Re: The accusations

I do not know this for a fact...but I'm guessing that anyone who is arrested on sexual charges probably undergoes mandatory screening for sexually transmitted diseases, in most states. I don't live in Pennsylvania, but maybe someone who does live there can find out.

--Justin

Re: The accusations

Are you SURE you dont work for the Morning Call? Can't you just wait and see what comes out? My child had considerable "contact" with Ben. I am quite certain this is actually a non-issue. There is a lot of background info here, not reported by the press, that will likely surface during the trial phase.

Bringing possible HIV status into the question is muckracking and mudslinging of the lowest possible form, and sensationalist at best. You, sir or madam, should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. The "implicit trust" relationship you speak of is far more in danger from YOUR rampant speculation and worthless drivel than from anything going on in the courtroom.

Keeping Our Heads.

This is a hot-button issue, and (as a SCAdian who has friends affected by this news) I very much appreciate the calm, low-key approach this news-site is taking. Much rhetoric has been flying---some of it from justly concerned and well-meaning SCAdians---but much of it highly speculative and WAY out of line.

Justin's approach has been informative without being inflammatory or unduly judgemental. It has been a breath of fresh air. Well done and Thank you for keeping us up to date on the facts.

Having said that, only the accusers and accused know what really happened. I continue to pray that truth, justice---and eventually healing---win out in the end.