A Mills County jury needed less than an hour of deliberations last week to find a Nebraska man guilty of sexual abuse charges against two children.
John R. Schondelmeyer, 64, of Bellevue, Neb., was found guilty of two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, a Class B felony, and two counts of lascivious acts with a child, a Class C felony. His trial lasted just one day and included emotional and descriptive testimony from two female victims, who were 7 and 8 years old at the time the crimes were committed in their home last September.
Schondelmeyer sat expressionless and seldom looked up as he wrote notes on a legal pad while the girls gave separate testimony.
Visibly uncomfortable, the younger girl clutched a blanket to her face as she described “Papa John” climbing in bed and touching her and her sister under their pajamas “ in the bad spots” and “private areas.”
Both girls said they told Schoendelmeyer to stop touching them.
The older girl said before she and her sister fell asleep that night, Schondelmeyer told them “don’t tell.”
Schondelmeyer an-swered a handful of questions on the witness stand, denying the acts described by the girls.
In his closing arguments, Mills County Attorney Eric Hansen said Schondelmeyer’s actions will leave lasting emotional scars on his victims.
“The memory they’ll take with them is Papa John reaching under their clothes and touching them,” Hansen said. “There could be no other reason than to arouse his own sexual desire. There could be no other reason to reach in their pajamas that night.”
Schondelmeyer faces up to 25 years in prison for each sexual abuse charge and up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the lascivious acts charges. His sentencing is scheduled for April 14.
Schondelmeyer was arrested in October by Bellevue (Neb.) Police. At the time of his arrest, he was in the process of moving to North Carolina. Following his arrest for the Iowa charges, the Bellevue Police Department launched its own investigation into Schondelmeyer and later charged him with two counts of incest and two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child for alleged incidents involving the same children.
If convicted of the Nebraska charges, Schondelmeyer could face additional prison time and fines. Sarpy County (Neb.) officials may wait until after Schondelmeyer’s sentencing in Iowa to determine how they’ll proceed with the charges in Nebraska.