Founder Of Boys Choir Charged With Rape

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MARSHALLS CREEK — State police in the Poconos have arrested and charged a man with raping at least one member of the Singing Boys of Pennsylvania Choir.

The man accused of the sex assault is the founder of the organization.

Bernard Schade, 74, is accused of rape and sexual assault.

Investigators said Doctor Bernard Schade, the creator of the Singing Boys of Pennsylvania Choir, is now locked up on rape and other charges.

State police said the alleged abuse happened at Schade`s home on Marshall`s Creek Road in East Stroudsburg in 1996 when the victim was 15-years-old.

Investigators said at that time the victim was a member of Schade`s organization, the Singing Boys of Pennsylvania Choir, which Schade founded in 1970.

A neighbor at Schade`s home said he`s known Schade for years and was shocked to hear Schade is facing charges of rape and sexual assault and was too upset to talk on camera.

According to the Singing Boys website, the choir is based mostly in Monroe and Northampton Counties, but it has members from several other counties, including Lackawanna and Luzerne.

The choir has had more than 3,000 performances in the United States and an additional 300 in Japan.

Schade’s bio on the website shows he was also taught at both East Stroudsburg and Bucknell Universities.

Newswatch 16 did a story about Doctor Schade and his choir in 1990 when the organization celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Schade is being held on a $250,000 bail in Monroe County.

He has a preliminary hearing set for April 2.

State police said Schade is charged with sexually abusing one boy but believe more victims could be out there.

The FBI is also assisting in the investigation.


  • A. Nonymous

    I was in the Singing Boys of PA from 1979-1981 (roughly). I can say with absolute certainty that the accusations are not only plausible, but highly probable.

    I have lived for all these years hoping that one day Dr. Schade would be brought to justice. He used to do these stupid fundraisers at the Palmer Park Mall where he would be locked in jail and need someone to bail him out. Many times I walked by him, dreaming that he might one day be behind bars. I comforted myself with the knowledge that time would flesh out the truth. Unfortunately, people enjoy walking through life blind. So it took a very long time. But he is finally where he belongs.

    The comments of “Bob” are most disturbing because they demonstrate how we rationalize certain behaviors and think of them as appropriate when they are not. Yes, Dr. Schade is a gifted music instructor and yes the performances of his choir show an ability to maintain discipline among 10- to 14-year-old boys. But for God’s sake, just think about it for a minute.

    No matter what the financial situation of the organization, is it really ever acceptable for an adult to sleep with a child in the same bed in some random hotel room? In my experiences, the older more veteran kids would rush into the hotel room first and claim the bed by the window, knowing that Dr. Shade preferred the other bed. That would leave the 3rd kid in the room stuck with no choice. I remember lying next to that creep waiting for him to fall asleep, and then would slide onto the floor to sleep between the two beds. He never made any direct attempts to touch me inappropriately (at least that I can recall), but as a young kid I was scared to death of going on tour and having my number come up.

    Dr. Schade and several chaperones would take us for a few weeks in summer to a college campus to “practice”. This experience was wrought with inappropriate behaviors. And yes, the chaperones were in on it too. Well, at least one, whose name I can only recall was “Andy” or “Andrew”. After this many years I can’t recall all of the specifics, but I just remember Dr. Schade and Andrew being way too friendly during bedtime and in the bathrooms, and I counted down the days until I was home. As a kid you just know in your heart when something is fundamentally wrong.

    The part about pre-screening incoming mail is also true. The chaperones would collect any letters and mail them out in bundles. I don’t know for sure whether or not they screened our outgoing mail. But I do recall that they pre-screened all of our incoming mail, as all letters from my parents were always opened and read together with the chaperone.

    Lastly, the public spankings were a constant ritual. If a kid was acting up at practice, then Dr. Schade would call him down in front of the choir during practice and spank him right there next to the piano. It was a very public display of discipline. Then he would go back the piano and everyone would start up again right where they left off. Looking back now it was ridiculous.

    In hindsight we should have all been raising flags and somebody should have triggered an investigation into Dr. Schade decades ago. But we were all so young. I was in 5th grade. I’m not sure why we didn’t all go home and tell our parents about everything. In fact, to this day I’ve never spoken about the experience, and have just swept it all under the rug and have kept it inside. I thank Mr. French for bringing this out into the open. I keep my fingers crossed that more will come forward and justice will win out in the end.

  • Christopher Niven

    I am nearly fifty years old and was molested by this man between the ages of 10 and 13..There is a great deal of shame associated with this interaction. There are years of pain that were caused by people looking the other way and ignoring the signs knowing full well what he rely was..A predator. I actually was approached by an Easton express reporter ( A Female i don’t remember her name) She tracked me down,There was another claim from another boy/man and my name was mentioned. I provided an interview to the reporter. The interview was never submitted to print, I waited a few weeks and called the reporter, When i asked why the story was not submitted apparently he hired a lawyer and the lawyer shut the story down. This was back in the late 80;s. I tried to reveal him but failed. It is a brave person who is willing to come forward. I am so glad he is exposed.

  • Bob

    Was a member of the choir for four years. Came back to assist in the office a bit when I was a little older (close to the time of this incident). I knew him well, as well as numerous boys from the choir. In all those years of close contact, there was never any suggestion that anything like this was going on. Not saying it isn’t possible, but it’s rather shocking for me to imagine. Also, if this is true and there were other incidents, I find it truly bizarre that it would take so long for any of it to come out. This guy was not some nice old priest or scoutmaster that everybody loved, whom kids might be hesitant to speak out against. We (the boys in the choir) all “hated” him — for his high standards, strictness, and disciplinarian personality. In the years since, I realized how effective his methods were and came around to a respect for him. But I knew lots of kids who didn’t have this perspective and disliked him enough that I can’t imagine they would hesitate to smear his name, if there were anything to smear it with. That’s why I find this story shocking — if there were multiple incidents, I really find it difficult to believe that people didn’t come forward sooner.

    • Andrew

      I was in the choir during this timeframe (pretty sure I know who you are…) and it seems pretty unbelievable to me as well for all the reasons you mentioned as well as some that you didn’t. I made sure to call and give a statement of my experience with the culture of the choir and the nature of our relationships with Dr. Schade. I would hope more do the same.

  • Dennis

    Just a thought–what if the guy is innocent and the accuser is looking to shake him down with a civil suit or an “out of court” settlement? I agree child sex offenders should be SEVERELY punished–but what if all of you are wrong and have convicted him on a story short on actual evidence but long on accusations? There is that possibility. Let’s allow due process to take its course before we burn the guy at the stake. Imagine what it would feel like if YOU were falsely accused and your whole life’s work, your reputation, and your family were destroyed. IF he is guilty, though, I can only pray he gets what he deserves, but we should let the courts determine his fate first.

    • pattie

      I have to agree with Dennis. 20 years and now he stands up and wants to have the.guy arrested.? How can this be viable. Sounds like someone is looking for a shake down. I need some viable proof to be on the side of the so called victim at this point.

  • bag

    This has been going on forever. No one tells. Victims remain silent which allows the molesters to continue. We need people to wake up, get educated, more training for the professionals and facial tattoos for the offenders so our innocent children can be protected. There is no rehabilitation history has proven. And yes I’m serious about the facial tattoos. They give up their rights when they violate innocent children who have to deal with it for the rest of their lives. It’s time to protect our children. Their rights are trump the violators’rights.

  • Skeptic

    See, these comments support my opinion yesterday. Good looking young woman kidnaps a child in broad daylight in front of witnesses, fights the police, assaults nurses… everyone makes excuses for her. A man gets accused of rape nearly 20 years after the alleged crime, and he might as well already be convicted and executed.
    I don’t know him and I’m not supporting him at all, but it sure does show the double standard in our society.

  • MareHannah

    Has anyone else noticed that this sort of ‘perversion’ has been happening more often these days? There have been teachers, police officers, lawyers, businessmen and even clergy who are going after young children and adolescents.

    I truly feel that these ‘kind’ of offenders cannot be rehabilitated. They need to be taken out of society and locked away in an institution never to see the light-of-day again.

    Megan’s Law isn’t harsh enough and obviously isn’t ‘working’.
    Get them OUT of society and lock them up….for LIFE!

  • CCKM

    So creepy that creepers like this go out of their way to be around children under a cloak of really caring about them and doing things for them! Despicable!

    • Confused choir member 1996

      Oh trust me CCKM… He did not pretend to be kind or caring. Tours with him were extremely emotionally draining and exhausting. He screamed at you constantly before concerts, find excuses to “fine” you and take your money, if you made a mistake you raised your hand and apologized for it, and sometimes if he’d get really angry and frustrated (he gave up beating us regularly after losing popularity with the parents) he’d stop the bus on the side of the highway, get out and walk off the nearest exit leaving us there.

      We performed to his standard because we were scared to fail. My love for music, traveling, and soaking up other cultures kept me coming back for more. But you better believe I reserved little to no love for him when I got out. Part of me isn’t surprised this came out and I hope he gets what he deserves… Another part of me feels guilty for it because he’s given me a chance at some great opportunities that have shaped who I am today.

      But kind and caring… Far from it.

  • bag

    Monsters like this are repeat offenders who molest all their lives. you can be sure there is a very long list of victims. Most will not come forward especially males. If you have a loved one that spent time with this hidden monster, love them more than ever… do not ask questions… you can’t get it and your questions can hurt the innocent unknowingly. If they want to speak up they will… most will not and can only heal with lots of love. Counseling can help them imeasurably but most cannot get there . Love and understanding to all involved.

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