MORRISTOWN, NJ – Former Roxbury High School Assistant Principal Roger Schneider - accused of sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy - pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of child abuse, conceding he engaged in horseplay that included slapping the teen's testicles with the back of his hand.
Schneider, of Rockaway Township, entered the plea before state Superior Court Judge Catherine Enright, said Morris County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Fred Snowflack.
In court, Schneider admitted he and the teenager, who was living in his home, often wrestled and engaged in other forms of horseplay, Snowflack said. During the roughhousing, the two would sometimes try to slap each other’s testicles, an activity known as sack tapping, said the spokesman.
“He and this kid would wrestle for fun,” Snowflack said. “He described it as horseplay. For a while, they would tap the testicles. Part of the game was they would slap each other’s balls with back of their hands. I guess part of the game would be to see who would withstand the most pain.”
Schneider, 57, a former Clifton police officer, was arrested in April 2015. At the time, he was also serving on the Morris Hills Regional Board of Education, a position he relinquished after being arrested.
Schneider was indicted on one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.
In an interview earlier this year, Schneider’s lawyer insisted her client was innocent.
"He absolutely maintains his innocence," said lawyer Sharon Bittner Kean. "This guy's been married for 30 years, has two adult children, served 25 years as a police officer, was a teacher and assistant principal. He's very troubled by the charges and intends on fighting them vigorously."
The attorney could not be reached for comment about Schneider’s decision to plead guilty.
As part of the deal, the prosecutor’s office agreed to recommend Schneider be sentenced to 364 days in county jail and banned from ever serving again as a teacher, Snowflack said. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17, he said.
When Schneider was arrested, the prosecutor’s office said the man was acting as a stand-in parent, or “in loco parentis,” to the victim, an arrangement condoned by the boy’s parents. The teen was not a Roxbury student.
Schneider became assistant principal at Roxbury High School on Aug. 1, 2014, replacing Dominick Miller. He has a master’s degree from Thomas Edison State College and a bachelor’s degree from William Paterson University.