Steven A. Schwab, a prominent Island insurance executive and well-known Chilmark resident, was arrested and charged last week with child molestation stemming from incidents in West Tisbury and Chilmark in which he allegedly exposed himself to a child.
Mr. Schwab, 64, was arrested by Chilmark police on April 18, at the home where he was living in Vineyard Haven. He was arraigned the next day in Edgartown district court on two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 and one count of open and gross lewdness in Chilmark. He also was arraigned on one count of open and gross lewdness in West Tisbury.
Records filed with the district court show Mr. Schwab admitted to police that he was a sex addict and had sought counseling. He also admitted that he had accessed child pornography sites on the Internet, and that he had frequently traveled to foreign countries where he would purchase the services of prostitutes.
Mr. Schwab was released on April 19 on $5,000 bail with several conditions imposed by district court clerk-magistrate Liza Williamson, including that he surrender his passport, stay away from children under 16, stay away from all elementary schools and the regional high school, remain in counseling, report to probation once a week, surrender all firearms and surrender his computer.
The incidents that led to Mr. Schwab’s arrest date to 2007 and involved a child who was known to him, according to police accounts that contain graphic detail about the incidents. The incidents continued over a period of two years, ceasing when family members found out. The incidents were reported to police this year after a family member who knew about them sought professional counseling.
According to the records filed in court, police will pursue an investigation into the possibility of child pornography crimes.
Mr. Schwab is vice president of Martha’s Vineyard Insurance Co. and an active participant in many community organizations. A longtime resident of Chilmark and former chairman of the housing committee in that town, he was living in Vineyard Haven and had separated from his wife at the time of his arrest.
Among other things, he had volunteered as a mentor for students in the rocketry club, an enrichment program at the Edgartown School.
School principal John Stevens notified parents and teachers in an e-mail late this week of the situation.
“This person is no longer associated with the school and not permitted on any school campus on the Island,” Mr. Stevens wrote in the e-mail. Last week was April vacation week in Island public schools. Mr. Stevens also said that Mr. Schwab had cleared a criminal background check prior to volunteering at the school, and that to his knowledge no inappropriate behavior had taken place at the school.
The investigation and arrest involved Chilmark, West Tisbury, Tisbury and Massachusetts state police, the Massachusetts Division of Children and Family, and Children’s Cove Child Advocacy Center in Hyannis.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 4.