Dozens of people are expected to gather outside the Lebanon County Courthouse Thursday afternoon in protest of the abuse and neglect authorities say led to the death of 12-year-old Max Schollenberger in an Annville home.
Although inspired by Schollenberger’s death, the seven organizers of the “Save and Protect Our Children March” intend to raise awareness for missing and abused children, as well as child trafficking, according to the event’s Facebook page. About 40 Facebook users said they planned to attend.
A candlelight vigil was held for the 12-year-old Sept. 20.
“To show that we care more than just sharing photo and viral posts on Facebook, we are going to show up in person, together and let everyone know we will no longer ignore the problem,” the organizers wrote.
Demonstrations will meet at noon outside the Lebanon County Courthouse on the 400 block of South Eighth Street. After a march through Lebanon, they plan to drive to the Annville home in which Schollenberger’s body was found May 26 starved, beaten and covered in his own feces, according to the organizers.
Max Schollenberger’s father Scott Schollenberger Jr., 42, and his father’s fiancée Kimberly Maurer, 35, have since been charged with homicide.
Organizers said they will leave messages of support for Schollenberger outside the South White Oak Street home between 3:30 and 4 p.m. and stay for about an hour.
Schollenberger’s death went shockwaves through Annville and the surrounding communities. Many people — including the family’s neighbors — did not know Max Schollenberger existed, let alone that he was abused.
District Attorney Pier Hess Graf said the 12-year-old was kept for years in a dark bare room with the blinds duct-taped and shutters nailed shut. There was no electricity, toys or furniture, other than the bed on which Max Schollenberger’s body was found, Graf said. She said police were called after Maurer told a neighbor about the 12-year-old’s death.
Graf said Max Schollenberger never received medical care or attended school.
“This tiny 12-year-old boy never knew the unconditional love from a family,” Graf said during a press conference last month announcing the charges against Maurer and Scott Schollenberger. “Max Schollenberger existed,” she said. “I will not call this living. He existed in a state of perpetual suffering.”
The organizers of Thursday’s event said Schollenberger’s death compelled them to unite the community.
“We’ve all seen the height of child abuse, trafficking and sex offenses over the last few weeks,” the organizers said. “We have an obligation as humans to protect those who can’t protect themselves.”
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