Former Church Employee Pleads Guilty to Attempted Online Child Enticement
WILMINGTON, Del. - Jeffrey Darlin, a 55-year-old facilities manager at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, at the time of his arrest, pled guilty late yesterday to Attempted Coercion and Enticement of a Minor, in violation of federal law. Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced the guilty plea following a hearing in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, where Darlin will be sentenced on by United States District Judge Sue L. Robinson on a date to be determined.
Darlin faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years, and a maximum sentence of life, in prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release following his prison sentence of at least five years to life. Darlin also will be required to register as a sex offender in any U.S. jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school.
According to the indictment and court documents, Darlin was arrested on February 10, 2012, after he traveled from his Swarthmore home to Bellevue State Park, in Delaware, to meet a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl for sexual activity. Darlin began his online relationship with an undercover federal agent posing as a 14-year-old girl in a Yahoo chat room on January 21, 2012. During their initial online chats, Darlin instructed the supposed 14-year-old high school cheerleader and gymnast how to delete all evidence of their online communications from ‘her’ computer and then engaged in numerous online conversations in which he repeatedly talked about teaching the fictitious minor how to engage in various sex acts. Using a computer located in his church office, Darlin sent the fictitious minor pictures of himself engaged in sexual acts, to illustrate the type of acts he would perform with ‘her.’ Darlin arranged to meet the fictitious minor at Bellevue State Park and then take ‘her’ to a hotel on Route 202 for sexual activity.
Darlin was arrested after arriving at Bellevue State Park on February 10, 2012 for the pre-arranged meeting with the undercover agent. Upon being advised of the arrest, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church officials terminated Darlin and cooperated fully in the criminal investigation. Darlin has been detained since his February 10, 2012 arrest.
This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edward J. McAndrew.