MADISON — A former Battle Creek man accused of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault pleaded not guilty to both charges on Friday in district court.
Stacey Schaller, 48, appeared before Judge Mark Johnson alongside Megan Hoins, a Madison County public defender. Schaller is a former resident of Battle Creek but has spent the past couple of years living in Sidney.
Charges were filed against Schaller in March following a law enforcement investigation that revealed Schaller had sexually assaulted a minor on several occasions in both Battle Creek and Sidney.
In September 2020, a Sidney police officer was contacted by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in reference to reported sexual abuse and child neglect. An intake statement from the DHHS indicated that Schaller had been inappropriately touching a minor female.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Schaller immediately became upset when police approached him with the sexual abuse allegations. Schaller reportedly said that “someone was out to get them and that they keep calling in intakes on them every few years for the same thing.”
The alleged victim told police that she was 8 years old the first time Schaller touched her vaginal area in Battle Creek. Schaller rubbed her private area on top of the girl’s clothing and on her bare skin, the victim said.
The alleged victim said she asked Schaller why he touched her inappropriately, and he reportedly replied that it was because she had a pretty shape.
The girl further alleged that Schaller would also put his hand under her shirt and touch her chest area. Incidents like this would happen every night while the victim and Schaller lived in Battle Creek, she said. Schaller allegedly touched the girl sexually twice after they had moved to Sidney.
During one reported incident that happened at Schaller’s residence in Sidney, the victim said she was wearing a tanktop with no bra and that Schaller began feeling her chest area. She told police that she believed he had touched her chest because he knew she wasn’t wearing a bra.
The girl, who was 13 years old at the time of her interview with police, said she told two loved ones about the alleged abuse in the summer of 2020. She explained that she told others about the abuse because Schaller was reportedly “trying to be alone with her.”
A male who also was interviewed by police told authorities that he recalled an incident in 2017 or 2018 in Battle Creek where he said he saw Schaller touching the girl inappropriately.
According to the male’s statements, he arrived at a Battle Creek residence and hid behind a chair. He alleged that he saw the girl sitting on Schaller’s lap while she was wearing a nightgown.
He told police that he saw Schaller put his hand up the girl’s nightgown and started caressing her back. The boy told police that Schaller “was always touching and picking up (the victim) until she was about 11 or 12 years old.”
A separate female also came to police to report that she had been sexually assaulted by Schaller in 1987. The woman said Schaller would digitally penetrate her, expose himself to her and ask her to touch his genitals.
The woman told police that she knew there probably wasn’t a way to go after Schaller for the alleged abuse in 1987, but she wanted to be able to help the girl whom Schaller allegedly assaulted.
A police report also contains information alleging that Schaller had a short temper and would often leave his kids with little to no food or leave them unattended for long periods of time.
An adult female stated that Schaller would occasionally go “over the top” with his temper.
She told police that Schaller had once placed his hand on a boy’s mouth and pushed him into a bathtub. The woman also said that when Schaller lived in Battle Creek, he would grab her arms and shake her, leaving bruises.
Schaller had a warrant issued for his arrest in March and was arrested shortly thereafter. He was later transported to the Madison County Jail and has been unable to post 10% of a $100,000 bond.
First-degree sexual assault is a Class 1B felony that carries a penalty of 20 years to life in prison. Third-degree sexual assault is a Class 3A felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
Schaller was scheduled to appear for a pre-trial hearing on Friday, Dec. 3, and a jury trial would begin on Monday, Feb. 14.