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Tyrone councilman helps to nab alleged online predator

The preliminary hearing for Darin M. Strong of Candor, New York was held Tuesday, September 9 at Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller’s office.
The affidavit of probable cause states that on June 30 Tyrone Police Chief Joe Beachem was met by William Latchford of ProtectChildrenOnline.org at the Tyrone Police Department headquarters.
Latchford, who is also a Tyrone Borough councilman, provided Chief Beachem with an informational packet including photographs captured from a webcam of the accused Strong.
Latchford explained that he had been on the computer, posing as a 13-year-old female, with a screen name of “SweetKatie-did1995”. The male, with a screen name of “dstrong03”, made contact with “SweetKatie”, and the conversation allegedly became sexual. In the conversation, Strong acknowledges the female is “much younger than me”.
On July 28, “dstrong03” engaged in another “chat” with “SweetKatie”, which also supposedly became sexual.
On July 30, Chief Beachem contacted an investigator from the Elmira, New York Police Department and then contacted an officer from the Ithaca, New York Police Department. After an online search, it was confirmed that Strong was listed as a physical education teacher and girl’s volleyball coach at a New York high school. A picture was obtained of Strong with the girl’s volleyball team, which showed that Strong was the same white male as captured by the webcam images.
Based upon the physical evidence and other evidence collected during the investigation, charges were filed against Strong.
The majority of the charges are of criminal attempt, since Latchford is not a police officer as defined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, nor is he a minor, but he posed as one.
Strong was represented at his preliminary hearing by Attorney Thomas Dickey. The charge of attempted indecent exposure was dismissed, and the remaining charges, including attempted dissemination to minors of obscene or other sexual materials, criminal use of a communications facility, and attempted unlawful contact with a minor were held for court.
Formal arraignment at Common Pleas is scheduled for October 17. The Preliminary Conference is scheduled for November 24 at 1:30 p.m.