News and Press Releases

Pennsylvania Middle School Football Coach, School Cook
and Summer Camp Counselor Sentenced to
10 Years in Prison for Attempted Online Enticement of a Minor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2014

WILMINGTON, Del. – Michael J. Barndt, a/k/a “mikecoach73,” age 40, of Sellersville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison for Attempted Coercion and Enticement of a Minor, in violation of federal law.  Barndt also was sentenced to five years of supervised release following his prison sentence.  He also will be required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school. 

Prior to his arrest, Barndt had been employed as a chef manager at the Lakeside School in Horsham Township, Pennsylvania since 2009.  Barndt also served for six years as the football coach at Springfield Township Middle School, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  He last coached in 2012 – the last football season prior to his arrest.  During the summer months, Barndt worked 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 court documents and statements made in court, 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.  Using the screen name “mikecoach73,” Barndt engaged in a series of explicit online chat conversations with the undercover agent, during which he transmitted explicit photos of himself.  Through the chats, Barndt and the “teen” planned to meet at the Concord Mall and then travel to a Wilmington hotel for a sexual encounter on June 19, 2013.

On the morning of June 19, 2013, Barndt drove from his Sellersville residence to Wilmington, Delaware, where he checked into a local hotel.  Barndt then drove to the Concord 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 sentencing hearing, U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III stated:  “This case serves as yet another example of the danger that lurks in cyber world.  Mr. Brandt was ready, willing, and able to assault an underage child to fulfill his own twisted desires.  Fortunately, he was taken off before he could carry out his criminal acts.  Every parent should carefully monitor their child's use of the Internet so as to protect him or her from predators looking for vulnerable victims.”

"Predators like Mr, Barndt, stalk and attack the most vulnerable in our society, our children,” said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. “As today’s sentencing shows, he will now answer for his despicable actions. HSI will not tolerate such acts, we will relentlessly and aggressively track down child predators to ensure our communities are safe."          

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.

 

Former Bank Vice President Pleads Guilty To Attempted Online Enticement of a Minor

WILMINGTON, Del. – Kirk A. Simmons, age 59, of Newark, Delaware, 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 Simmons will be sentenced by United States District Judge Leonard P. Stark on June 24, 2014.

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

At the time of his arrest in this case, Simmons was employed as a Vice President, Market Information Manager II at Bank of America’s Newark, Delaware facility.  Bank of America terminated Simmons’s employment following notification of his arrest and criminal conduct.  According to his LinkedIn profile, at the time of his arrest, Simmons also was working as a “Professional private tutor” through WyzAnt Tutoring, “providing private in-home tutoring at the high school and college levels.”       

According to the indictment and court documents, Simmons was arrested by the Delaware Child Predator Task Force on July 18, 2013, after he arrived at a Newark hotel to engage in sex acts with two persons he believed to be a 13-year-old girl and her biological father.  Approximately one month earlier, in June 2013, Simmons responded to a “personals” advertisement for “fam love/taboo” on an adult social networking website.  Simmons believed the advertisement had been posted by the father of a 13-year-old girl who the father would make available for sex with adult males.  In fact, the “father” was actually an undercover Delaware State Police detective assigned to the Delaware Child Predator Task Force. 

Over the course of the next month, Simmons and the undercover detective engaged in numerous online chat conversations in which Simmons indicated and graphically described that he wanted to engage in sexual activity with the purported “father” and his child.  After a number of online conversations, Simmons and the “father” agreed to meet at a Newark hotel on July 18, 2013, where they both would engage in sex acts with the “13-year-old daughter.”
Shortly before that meeting, Simmons was under surveillance by the Delaware State Police and was observed driving directly from his workplace to the hotel.  He was arrested by Child Predator Task Force members when he arrived in the hotel parking lot.  In a recorded interview with a Delaware State Police detective, Simmons admitted that he intended to engage in sexual activity with the fictitious “father” and “13-year-old daughter” at the hotel.  Simmons also admitted that he brought a digital camera with him to photograph the sexual activity.

Following the plea hearing, United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III stated:  “I want to thank the Delaware Child Predator Task Force for its outstanding work in this case.  This was a time-intensive, month-long, online undercover investigation that resulted in the capture of a seemingly upstanding and successful businessman who planned to rape a child with her father’s help.  I would also like to thank the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for its continued and successful partnership with our State law enforcement partners on this critically important work.” 

"Protecting children from predators requires cooperation among law enforcement agencies," said Delaware State Prosecutor Kathleen Jennings.  "That's why under Attorney General Biden's leadership the Delaware Child Predator Task Force, which is co-led by the Delaware Department of Justice and the Delaware State Police, regularly works across jurisdictional lines with local, state, and federal partners to track down and stop those who are seeking to hurt our kids."

"This case shows that exploitation of children has severe consequences for those who engage in these depraved activities,” said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. “HSI is committed to investigating these cases, working alongside our agency partners to help protect the citizens of our neighboring communities.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edward J. McAndrew and investigated by the Delaware State Police and the United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations. 

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Information for Law Enforcement Training, Community Outreach, Asset Forfeiture and Technical Assistance

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.