Skip Navigation

Lebanon County stepmom of starved 12-year-old gets life in prison for his death

  • By Jonathan Bergmueller/ PennLive
A Lebanon County Sheriff's vehicle is parked before the Lebanon County Courthouse minutes before Kimberly Maurer was sentenced to life in prison without parole.


A Lebanon County Sheriff's vehicle is parked before the Lebanon County Courthouse minutes before Kimberly Maurer was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The woman previously convicted of starving and abusing her husband’s 12-year-old son will spend the rest of her life in prison, said a Lebanon County Court judge.

“I have always been raised to believe there is no such thing as an unforgivable sin,” said Judge Bradford Charles before he sentenced Kimberly Maurer, 37, to life in prison plus 10 to 20 years. “But this is as close as it gets.”

Maurer, of Annville, tried to deflect blame for the abuse and murder of Maxwell Schollenberger to her husband, Scott Schollenberger, according to Charles.

But Charles said the two acted together to cause the death of Maxwell in 2020.

“Any attempt to put all blame on one is misguided or misplaced,” Charles said. “You are not a parent, but you are a human being, and no human being should allow this to happen.”

Scott Schollenberger pleaded guilty to criminal homicide in February and is serving a sentence of life in prison without a chance of parole.

Police found Maxwell’s nude body, malnourished and covered in his own feces in his bedroom — an empty room devoid of light, furniture and personal possessions, police testified early in the trial.

Courtesy of the Lebanon County District Attorney's Office

Scott Schollenberger Jr., left, and Kimberly Maurer

Maurer failed to enroll Maxwell in school for years, give him proper medical care or give him proper treatment for possible physical and psychological problems, according to Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf.

Meanwhile, Maurer’s other three children lived relatively normal lives. They shared a bedroom filled with toys, clothes and even a flatscreen television. Cabinets elsewhere in the house overflowed with Pop-Tarts and other snacks while the family had just purchased a puppy named “Nala,” according to prosecutors.

Maurer never called 911 after she discovered Maxwell was dead the morning of May 26, 2020, according to police testimony. She also never called Lebanon County Children and Youth regarding Maxwell’s treatment, according to the Graf.

Maurer read a prepared statement before Charles and the rest of the courtroom.

“I wish I could go back in time to bring him back,” Maurer said. “It still makes me sick to this day. This makes me a coward and a failure. I know I failed and did not do enough.”

“It was not negligence,” Graf said. “It was a matter of how many more days. He lay there in that stench and suffering until he died.”


Lebanon County District Attorney, Pier Hess Graf, speaks at a press conference following the sentencing hearing. Graf is joined by detective David Shaffer, left; Edward McCann, first assistant district attorney at Montgomery County; and detective-sergeant Todd Hirsch, all of whom contributed to the prosecution of Kimberly Maurer.

Graf portrayed Maurer as a cold woman who never showed love to Maxwell, despite being the parent primarily responsible for running the household.

Maurer used COVID stimulus funds and other forms of financial support specifically given to the family to aid in Maxwell’s care to buy trees for the yard and groceries for a Memorial Day party— a party Maxwell could only hear through the covered windows of his room the day before he was found dead, according to Graf.

Any text messages in Maurer’s phone referring to Maxwell were of spite for the stepson she did not love, according to Graf.

“There is no logical explanation for it. She spent so much time typing hate and vitriol when she only needed to type three numbers—9-1-1,” Graf said.

Graf encouraged those who suspect child abuse to anonymously call the Childline at 1-800-932-0313 or visit

Graf said while she is proud of the case her office tried, as well as those who aided in its preparation, she said the case’s outcome is not justice.

“There’s no getting him back. We tried the best case we could have. I think we have gotten as good of an outcome as possible.”

Charles commended lawyers from both sides for what he called a well-prepared, well-organized and well-tried case.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Regional & State News

Lebanon County group works to get bikes to those in need