Ex-elementary school principal accused of sexual abuse

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A former principal of a Phoenix elementary school has been arrested on sexual abuse charges.

Matthew Schenk, 34, was extradited back to Arizona on Tuesday, from Los Angeles. Police say he was trying to leave the country.

Peoria Police investigated this case, because the alleged sexual abuse and assault happened at Schenk's home in Peoria two years ago. Apparently, no one in the school district knew anything about the charges until last week.

Schenk recently resigned as principal of Horseshoe Trails Elementary School, but since May 2017, detectives suspected Schenk of sexually abusing a young man he took in as a house guest.

"What happened then was he inappropriately touched him several different times, told him to stop, and thats where this came from," said Peoria Police Public Information Officer Brandon Sheffert.

Police say Schenk met the victim, who was 18 at the time, at a religious event. Meanwhile, officials with the Cave Creek Unified School District released a statement, which reads, in part:

"The District has spoken with law enforcement and understands that the allegations of criminal activity concern a 20-year-old male victim. The allegations center around contact in May 2017. The district was not aware of any criminal investigation until March 11, 2019."

Police say the crimes Schenk is accused of are not tied to his former employment as principal, and district officials were told the case was the subject of a Grand Jury indictment. On Tuesday, as Schenk tried to get through Customs and Border Protection in LA, notification of his warrant alerted authorities.

"Obviously, this guy was trying to get away," said Sheffert. "He was trying to flee the country because these are serious allegations and serious crimes."

The Peoria home where police say Schenk lived has been sold. Residents who live nearby are stunned by the allegations.

"That hurts," said Volker Franz. "That really hurts, 'cause I bring her to school every day. You always wonder. I don't know where else to go with all this, because if that is really true, the case -- because you know we're always innocent 'till proven guilty, but anything like that -- pedophiles, we don't need them around here. Not in our neighborhoods."

Schenk appeared in court on Friday, and did post bond.

"I do have an attorney that is working on this case, and I am very much looking forward to addressing this case in court as quickly as possible," said Schenk.

Police officials say there was a second report of Schenk allegedly sexually abusing a second victim in Mexico, but that victim has chosen to not speak to police.