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Duped by State Detectives, Pennsylvania Police Chief Shows Up at Sheetz Gas Station for Sex With Underage Girl

Chief Michael Diebald was allegedly undeterred when the "girl" said she was in eighth grade—"everyone has to have a first time," he told her.

mugshotmugshotYet another U.S. law enforcement agent has been caught up in a child-sex sting conducted by his colleagues. On Friday, 40-year-old Michael Diebold—chief of police for the small Western Pennsylvania town of Leechburg—was arrested after arranging a sexual tryst with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

The "teenager" was actually an undercover officer from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Criminal Investigations. Diebold was charged with two first-degree felonies: unlawful contact with a minor and criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He remains in the Westmoreland County Jail on $500,000 bond. Diebold's lawyer says he will plead not guilty at a January 18 hearing.

The undercover agents had been chatting with Diebold since September after responding to an online sex ad he posted on Kik. Diebold was not initially seeking an underage companion; his ad sought an adult female for a consensual dom/sub relationship. But the chief was apparently undeterred when the "woman" who responded said she was actually just 14 years old and in the eight grade. "Everyone has to have a first time," Diebold allegedly responded, according to the criminal complaint against him.

Over the next few weeks, Diebold allegedly sent the girl lewd pics and asked "her" repeatedly to meet in person. They eventually arranged to meet at a Sheetz gas station last Friday, where Diebold was taken into custody. According to the police affadavit, Diebold admitted that he had been the one chatting with undercover officers, said that he knew sexual activity with a 14-year-old was wrong, and said that he knew his "life was over" now.

Diebold—a 21-year police veteran and the town's police chief since 2007—had gone on paid medical leave following a fireworks accident last year, and he remains on paid leave now, according to Leechburg Mayor Wayne Dobos. As for Diebold's future with the department, Dobos told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Right now I have no comment outside of I'm shocked."

Diebold was also married last summer, and his wife recently gave birth to a son.

Diebold's wife Danielle released a statement to CBS Pittsburgh on Sunday, saying she was "broken, devastated, humiliated," and "completely blindsided." Michael Diebold "was the first man ever in my life who never made me question, never gave me a gut feeling, never a bad instinct or sign and we were even in the process of planning to extend our family," she said. "This is not who we knew. We knew a loving, caring father and husband and we are grieving the loss of that man."

Photo Credit: Diebold mugshot

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  • damikesc||

    Man, he's going to get a VICIOUS fully paid suspension until he retires with full benefits.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Either that or hang himself with his shoelaces while still in the clink.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Yeah, he's probably into auto-erotic.

  • LarryWilson||

    I wonder if a one-armed man can tie shoelaces that well to hang himself.

  • LarryWilson||

    Actually, he was already on paid leave for around a year. He blew off his left arm in a fireworks accident last year and there was a dispute between him and the city council about letting him come back to work.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It was law enforcement all the way down.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Pennsylvania is Quaker for "Florida".

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "They eventually arranged to meet at a Sheetz gas station last Friday, where Diebold was taken into custody."

    Sheesh. How about a little professional courtesy?

  • Libertarian||

    It's just a big misunderstanding. It's Pennsylvania, and these places are on every corner. He wanted to meet her at McDonald's, or, as he told her, "between the Sheetz."

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    "This is not who we knew. We knew a loving, caring father and husband and we are grieving the loss of that man"

    Hahahahahaha.

    That man is simply 90% of the man you knew. He went nowhere.

  • Brandybuck||

    He was a cop. Of course he had a dark side.

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    It confounds me whenever people say "I had no idea." What is the point?

    Is it a reflex of the assumption that people would have expected the affiliates to have done something to prevent the act? Perhaps some tacit endorsement that has to be disavowed?

    Ex. "Wow Diogenes, that's a seriously questionable opinion on immigrants you have there. I had no idea that Mrs. Diogenes was a racist."

  • Hugh Akston||

    So since there was no actual minors involved, what law did this guy violate?

  • Zeb||

    As much as I enjoy seeing cops getting dicked over by other cops, this just seems like entrapment. And the "unlawful comtact with a minor" charge is a bit of a stretch when no minor was involved.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    How does the match with the pity we were told to feel for that fat Ohio gay dude last month. And I actually do feel bad for that guy.

    This guy it's easier to hate simply because he's a cop, and he married and stuff. But if that thing before wasn't a crime, then I can't see why this one now is.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    There is a slight difference, because the undercover agent said in the chatting that "she" was only 14 and in 8th grade. The Ohio gay dude was charged because he did not recognize the difference between a minor's penis and an adult's penis. If I remember correctly, the fake minor in the Ohio case was 14. I forget the signs of puberty, but searching "genital development between the ages of 14 and 18" on Google brought up this page from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. (Google must think I am a weirdo by now.)

    There is some variance in the age at which humans reach milestones in physical development. It says testicular enlargement starts between 9.5 and 13.5 years of age and concludes
    between the ages of 12.7 and 17. Penis growth started between the ages of 10.5 and 14.5 and ends between the ages of 13.5 and 17.0. Pubic hair appears between the ages of 8 and 14 and reaches full coverage between the ages of 13.5 and 17.0.

    Hence a 14 year old boy's private parts can look like a boy's or a like a man's depending oh how early he developed. That being said, I don't think cops should have wasted their time entrapping either the guy in Ohio or the guy in Pennsylvania.

  • ||

    The Ohio gay dude was charged because he did not recognize the difference between a minor's penis and an adult's penis.

    This is false. The officers in Ohio told the "perp" that they were 15 and he specifically rebuffed the age as something he didn't believe in or just a number.

    I don't exactly like the whole entrapment thing either but the facts on the ground indicate that both adults, equally, knew full well they were violating the law.

    Moreover, you willingness to plumb the depths of the internet for the distinguishing characteristics of children/adult human genitalia doesn't reinforce any disinterested impartiality on your part.

  • Robert||

    Does it say when they begin to involute? Mine must be shrinking, the only way I can acc't for being no longer able to hit the toilet when I'm sitting on the toilet.

  • Brandybuck||

    Yeah, it's entrapment. But he's still a major creepazoid that should never work as a cop again.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Most cops should never work as cops again.

  • Johnimo||

    Get rid of all the nonsense laws, AND reduce police forces by about 50%. OMG! Who will roundup all the pot smokers and hookers?

  • Tom Bombadil||

    He was trafficking in pervy thoughts.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So if consenting adults engage in some fantasy role play, say the "naughty school girl", does that violate the law in Pennsylvania?

  • ||

    So since there was no actual minors involved, what law did this guy violate?

    Well, you can't exactly fault the police for being consistent, right?

  • LarryWilson||

    I'm going to suspect there is more to this story.

    I can't imagine that this one incident was the first time he was suspected of diddling minors. He admitted to years of soliciting sex online.

  • ||

    I'm going to suspect there is more to this story.

    I can't imagine that this one incident was the first time he was suspected of diddling minors. He admitted to years of soliciting sex online.

    There may be more to this story but without something documented, the second part seems wholly unjustified. She was technically a minor (we were both) the first time I solicited sex from my now wife.

    Not to say that the guy shouldn't be tried/convicted for the crime he committed but you're tossing up a lot of accusations with zero evidence like Title IX should apply to this guy or something.

  • Rhywun||

    Crimethought.

  • Jgalt1975||

    In most jurisdictions you can be charged with "attempted [INSERT CRIME HERE]" even if it was actually impossible for you to have completed the crime as intended, so he's probably being charged with "attempted contributing to delinquency of a minor," "attempted statutory rape," etc.

  • DajjaI||

    Sheetz cake

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Imagine if there were two of those gas stations next to one another, they could have met between the Sheetz.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Wokka.

  • Kivlor||

    This article actually goes very well with KMW's article on pervs in politics, and accentuates my point that positions of high status and high stress seem to bring out deviant behaviors in people. It has been well documented for decades.

    Is the issue voters in the case of the Leechburg CoP? Is it partisan politics? Choosing someone who will make the policy decisions you want? Do you think Mr. Diebold went into police work thinking "I'm going to get some underage pussy"? The obvious answer is no. People (generally) don't go into these lines of work thinking about abusing power, abusing kids, etc. It seems the reality of dominance hierarchies tends to flip a switch in a lot of them once they have achieved that power and status and find themselves in a high stress environment.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Is the evidence that people in public positions are particularly more inclined to perversion than the general populace?

    My guess is the general truth is people are on average pretty kinky.

  • Kivlor||

    From what I've seen it's really about power over others, high social status, high stress, and often higher income than average. Never heard anything about public vs private.

  • Kivlor||

    I want to add that we are talking about serious deviant behavior. Not merely being into something a little kinky. The thing that comes to the front of my mind is compilations of the tendencies of people who do sick things to kids and young teens. It was identified decades ago that the typical person who does these things is a heterosexual in a position of power/status with high stress/high demand and that they do it to feel powerful over someone else.

    I would wager that as government power has grown, and as being in government has become an even greater symbol of status, and the risks and rewards have grown along with the stresses, that these behaviors have become more pervasive in government positions.

    There was an article a decade ago that said 5000 Pentagon personnel & contractors were suspected viewing CP on government computers at work...

  • LarryWilson||

    It could be politics. It might be a face value issue. Details may emerge, but it's hard to tell at this point. One thing we know is that when there is an agenda against a cop, they are no less unreasonable about how they handle their 'own.'

    What is missing from this story is that the cop also owns a fireworks company...not sure if it's a manufacturer or distributor. Last year he blew off his left arm just below the elbow handling fireworks.

    The city council was reluctant to let him return to work and there is an ongoing lawsuit as this cop tried to get back on duty. He was on paid leave while a fitness test was being put together to see if he could still do the job. I would not be surprised if there is a political element to this as a method of keeping him from returning to the department.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Alternatively, low-income people live in neighborhoods where no one calls the police. They either let things slide or use their fists themselves.

  • DajjaI||

    So much of this is intentional. They are sacrificing themselves to the security industrial complex. They see no better option in their lives. The solution is simple: vote for the guy who promises to reduce law enforcement staffing. Seems counterintuitive, but it will actually decrease crime and wasteful spending.

  • Rhywun||

    Yeah, I'm not clicking on that, thanks.

  • shermanator||

    Wait, didn't reason just publish article complaining about such stings? Now they applaud? http://reason.com/blog/2017/12.....ge-student

  • Zeb||

    I'm not seeing the applause. Just reporting on what happened.

  • ||

    Just reporting on what happened.

    Justice served?

    Maybe not applause but not... "Just reporting?"

  • Zeb||

    What are you quoting there?

  • ||

    The 'Justice served?' in blockquotes is from the article itself where they're editorializing pretty heavily;

    Justice served?

    Somehow it doesn't feel that way.

    The "Just reporting?" is in scare quotes. As I'm sure you're aware Reason has a habit at times of just reporting, "just reporting", and, to be sure, just reporting?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Well it's the applause of one hand clapping

  • Robert||

    This article was immediately preceded by one about how we can't get the pervs out of politics. If the chief of police is a politician, then HyR just published an article on the same subject, though not necessarily about stings per se.

    So you get someone on the hook for sex. You think it's easy to just turn off the interest when you find out she's 14 YO? This guy might've had to work on a hookup for mos. before landing this 1. He's not going to throw that fish back so easily. I'd like to see the entire record of his fishing online.

  • LarryWilson||

    They call this cop "The One Armed Police Chief."

    No shit. The fireworks accident blew off the left arm just below the elbow.

  • Conchfritters||

    Amos Moses minus the alligator.

  • KWlib||

    He could have shot and killed a 14 year old girl and he'd be a hero. Oh, the irony.

  • NoVaNick||

    My thoughts exactly! Either that, or his lawyer will say that the "stress and demands" of his job make him unable to resist underage girls, so this is an occupational illness, which makes him entitled to workers' comp and early retirement with full pension.

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    Pension.
    Pens Ion.
    Penis On.

  • NoVaNick||

    Yep-the union health plan will make sure he gets free Viagra with no copay for life too.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    So, he posted an ad seeking a consensual relationship with an adult, which is perfectly legal, and this inspired the cops to reach out and attempt to set him up on a charge of kiddie diddling. That's horrifying. Do they have no actual real crime in Pennsylvania? Will they be skulking around Match.com next?

  • techgump||

    It's just a few bad apples, right?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    In related news, the DCD reports on the sexual habits of American high school students. About three fourths of American 9th graders are virgins, a number that increased after the launch of Facebook. I can see protecting minors from sex with older people, because of the power imbalance and unequal disease risk, but those laws need Romeo and Juliet clauses.

  • Robert||

    I guess Facebook is taking people's time & interest away from sex.

  • Robert||

    Chief Michael Diebald


    I saw what you did there.

  • Liberty Lover||

    This guys biggest worry may be his wife, not prison. She is not "standing by him". This wife is pissed.

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