A former Fremont schoolteacher who was convicted more than 10 years ago of possessing child pornography faces new charges that he sodomized a boy in his classroom in the late 1990s. Michael Schoop, 63, of Pleasanton, was arrested on the new charges last week and is being held in the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $410,000 in bail. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has charged Schoop with four counts of sodomy of a person under the age of 14 with an age difference of at least 10 years.
Prosecutors allege that the incidents occurred in a side room of a portable classroom at the Mission Valley Elementary School in Fremont, where Schoop taught for 25 years and once was named a distinguished teacher. In 2002 Schoop pleaded guilty in Alameda County Superior Court to one felony count of possessing child pornography. He was placed on five years’ probation and required to register as a sex offender. In a related case in federal court, Schoop was sentenced in 2003 to one year in federal prison.
The state and federal cases began when a 45-year-old man told Oakland police that Schoop had molested him for several years, starting in 1967, when the man was about 12 years old. Schoop originally was charged with four counts of lewd conduct with a child under 14 and one count of forced oral copulation with a minor but those charges were later dropped and the only charge that remained was the child pornography count to which he pleaded guilty. Schoop’s attorney, Bruce Nickerson, said today that he thinks the new charges against Schoop are “totally specious” and are related to Schoop’s effort to obtain a certificate of rehabilitation so he no longer will have to register as a sex offender.
Nickerson said the district attorney alleged that Schoop, who was released from federal prison in 2004, must wait 10 years to obtain the certificate but an appellate court ruled six months ago that he only had to wait seven years. Nickerson said that when Schoop returns to court for a pretrial hearing on June 26 he will ask that the charges against him be dismissed, alleging that they lack specificity.
The defense attorney said the Fremont Police Department declined to take any action against Schoop when the allegations about the reputed conduct in 1998 and 1999 first emerged so the new charges are based on the district attorney’s own investigation. Representatives from the district attorney’s office declined to comment on the case today.
Nickerson said psychiatrists who examined Schoop in 2001 and 2012 both concluded that Schoop is not a pedophile. He said Schoop “likes young men but doesn’t like prepubescent children at all.” Nickerson said the man who told Oakland police that Schoop had molested him when he was only about 12 later signed an affidavit admitting that he was already 20 years old when he had sex with Schoop and he suffered from serious emotional problems.
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