Accused stalker reffed youth flag football games

Former referee charged with stalking woman at Publix on State Road 13

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Parents in St. Johns County are questioning why a man with an extensive arrest history, who is now charged with stalking a woman at an area Publix, was working with their children.

David Schroeder, 63, was booked Tuesday into the St. Johns County jail on the misdemeanor stalking charge. At his first appearance before a judge on the charge Wednesday morning, his bond was set at $1,500. The judge ordered him to have no contact with the victim. That’s when Schroeder told the judge he wanted to know the name of the victim and where she lived, so he wouldn’t accidentally encounter her.

“I don’t even know who my victim is,” said Schroeder, who bonded out of jail later in the day.

David Schroeder makes his first appearance on the misdemeanor stalking charge.
David Schroeder makes his first appearance on the misdemeanor stalking charge. (WJXT)

Multiple parents reached out to News4Jax after seeing Schroeder’s booking photo, saying he was a referee with i9 Sports, which is a youth sports league. The league confirmed to News4Jax that Schroeder was terminated as a referee following his arrest.

One mother said Schroeder had been the referee for the two seasons that her son has been playing flag football. Cellphone video from within the last two weeks appears to show him reffing a youth flag football game.

“As soon as I saw the mug shot with the glasses, I immediately recognized him, and I wasn’t surprised,” said Nicole Wroten, whose son is in second grade. “I was angry because this guy is just -- I have seen so many people post the word 'creepy’ and that is probably the best way to describe him.”

On the afternoon of Jan. 15, according to Schroeder’s arrest report, he followed a woman into the Publix on State Road 13 in Fruit Cove and around the grocery store, even when she tried to evade him. The arrest report said he “willfully and maliciously engaged in a course of conduct directed at a specific person with caused substantial emotional distress to the victim and served no legitimate purpose.”

During an interview with investigators, according to the arrest report, Schneider admitted to deputies he followed victims around the Publix.

“The defendant admitted that he thought the victim looked good and he followed her through the entire store,” deputies wrote. “The defendant stated he has a sex problem and needs help.”

The arrest report also noted that Schroeder admitted to going to the Panera Bread in Mandarin, and staring at and following around a “pretty girl” the day he was arrested. According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, other possible victims have come forward and the investigation is ongoing.

Schroeder has an extensive arrest history dating back to 1986, including at least three arrests on charges of indecent exposure, lewd and lascivious, soliciting for prostitution and offering for lewdness.

Parents are now left wondering how this information slipped through the cracks in Schroeder’s hiring process with the youth sports league.

“It’s very alarming,” Wroten said.

On Wednesday afternoon, i9 Sports sent News4Jax the following statement in response to Schroeder’s arrest:

News4Jax went to Schroeder’s neighborhood on Jacksonville’s Westside on Wednesday. A neighbor of nearly 30 years said she was sad when she saw the news about him. She described him as lonely, but very kind, and said he would never hurt a child.

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