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Pennsylvania Youth Football Coach, School Cook and Summer Camp Counselor Pleads Guilty to Attempted Online Enticement of a Minor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2013

WILMINGTON, Del. – Michael J. Barndt, a/k/a “mikecoach73,” age 39, of Sellersville, Pennsylvania, pled guilty today 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 Barndt will be sentenced by United States District Judge Leonard P. Stark on February 25, 2014. 

Barndt 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.  Barndt also will be required to register as a sex offender in any U.S. jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school. 

Prior to his arrest, Barndt was employed as a cook at the Lakeside School in Horsham Township, Pennsylvania.  Barndt also served for a number of years as a youth football coach for the Springfield School District, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  He last coached in 2012 – the last football season prior to his arrest.  During the summer months, Barndt was employed as a camp counselor at “Blue Bell Camp,” in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, where his duties including coaching football and driving children home from camp.

According to the indictment and court documents, Barndt was arrested on June 19, 2013, after he traveled from his Pennsylvania home to the Concord Mall, in Wilmington, Delaware, to meet a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl for sexual activity.  Barndt identified this supposed 14-year-old girl, who was actually an undercover federal agent, after he posted an on-line personals ad on www.craigslist.com.  In the ad, which he entitled, “Real Teen Fantasy,” Barndt expressed interest in a sexual liaison with a teenage girl and engaged in a series of online chats with the undercover agent, which involved Barndt transmitting naked pictures of himself.

Barndt drove to the mall, where he was met by a team of federal agents shortly after purchasing items at Victoria’s Secret.  Federal agents seized a smartphone from Barndt, which was later found to contain approximately 15,000 images of teenage females who are either suggestively dressed or partially or completely nude.  Most of these images appear to have been self-produced by the teenagers with smartphones.

Following the plea hearing, U.S. Attorney Oberly stated:  “While Mr. Barndt will be appropriately punished for his crimes, young people must be especially cautious as to the types of images they produce of themselves on their smartphones.  Inappropriate pictures, once in cyberspace, live on forever and can have damaging consequences even years later.”

"Homeland Security Investigations  is committed to stopping predators in their tracks.  This defendant will no longer be a threat to our children" said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI in Philadelphia. "This case is yet another example of the extraordinary collaborative efforts among law enforcement in Delaware, to protect the most vulnerable among us."

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.

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