The founder of a boys choir based in Monroe and Northampton counties has been arrested on allegations he sexually abused members of the choir nearly two decades ago.
Bernard Kenneth Schade, 74, was taken into custody Wednesday on charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and statutory sexual assault, state police said.
Schade's arrest, they said, stems from allegations he sexually abused members of the Singing Boys of Pennsylvania Choir nearly two decades ago.
According to court records, Schade was 57 when he sexually abused a 15-year-old boy in 1996.
Police said the choir member joined Schade at a dance performance. The teenage boy was expected to return home following the show. But according to the complaint, Schade refused to give the teen a ride home and insisted he spend the night at Schade's Marshalls Creek home.
Schade allegedly forced the teen to remove his clothing before having sex with him.
Police said Schade told the teen it was normal and there was nothing wrong with it.
On Wednesday, Schade reportedly had a taped phone conversation with another former choir member. When the caller asked Schade why he hurt him, Schade allegedly responded by saying "I regret that."
Schade, who founded the choir in 1970, currently serves as the artistic director, police said.
The choir, mostly based in Monroe and Northampton counties, has had thousands of members over the years, touring across the United States and around the world, police said.
69 News spoke with one of Schade's adopted sons. Andrew Schade tells 69 News that he had "little to no" contact with his father, after he left him about 20 years ago.
Andrew Schade said he was disturbed by the allegations.
"Our hearts break for those affected and hope and pray that those affected will come forward," Schade said.
He described his father as a "music lover."
State police said they are seeking any further information about Schade's conduct, as well as information pertaining to current or former choir members. Anyone with information can contact the criminal investigation unit in Swiftwater at 570-839-7701.
The FBI is assisting with the investigation.