Father pleads guilty in torture, starvation death of son

Posted at 7:44 AM, February 14, 2022 and last updated 7:47 PM, July 13, 2023

ANNVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania father about to stand trial on charges he tortured and starved his 12-year-old son before the boy died has pleaded guilty to several charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Scott Schollenberger Jr. (Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office)

Scott Schollenberger Jr., 43, of Annville, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that included criminal homicide, child endangerment and conspiracy for both counts. His trial had been scheduled to start March 14.

Schollenberger and his fiancée Kimberly Maurer, 36, were both accused in September 2020 of imprisoning his son in a darkened room for years, starving him and beating him while treating their other children well. Maurer remains jailed and is due to stand trial next month.

The charges against the couple stemmed from the death of Maxwell Schollenberger, whose body was found May 26, 2020. Authorities have said the boy was naked, and his feces-covered body was sprawled across a soiled bed in a room that was also caked with it.

Kimberly Maurer (Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office)

The boy never received medical care, wasn’t enrolled in school and was rarely seen even by his siblings, who lived in the same house with the couple, authorities have said. There were no lights in the boy’s room, and the window shades were closed with duct tape. Metal hooks kept the room locked from the outside.

Schollenberger and Maurer have other children together “who appeared to be healthy, well-adjusted and cared for,” investigators wrote in a report on the case. Those children received regular medical care and attended school, authorities have said.

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