A Barrett Township psychiatrist has been charged with attempting sexual contact with a 13-year-old boy.
The charges against Michael Nathaniel Kessler, 43, a psychiatrist who previously had a practice on Route 447 in Smithfield Township, stem from an investigation that began in early May when an alert mother noticed some suspicious activity on her 13-year-old son’s Facebook account.
After investigating further, she became concerned that someone was contacting her son through Facebook using what appeared to be a fake profile that contained images and information pertaining to young boys in various states of undress.
She contacted police, who referred her to Detective Brian Webbe of the Monroe County Office of the District Attorney, a member of the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Webbe, who specializes in computer crimes, assumed control of the child’s Facebook account and began posing as the child.
Kessler, who was using this fake Facebook profile to impersonate a 14- year-old boy, sent Detective Webbe pornographic photographs and videos through Facebook, email, and his cell phone; then solicited Detective Webbe for sex.
Kessler also repeatedly asked for a picture of the 13-year-old boy’s penis.
Through investigation, Webbe was able to positively identify Kessler as the person behind this fake Facebook profile.
Detectives from the Monroe County Office of the District Attorney, along with officers from the Barrett Township Police Department and deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, served a search warrant on Kessler’s home on Spruce Cabin Road, seizing several computers and cell phones.
Kessler was arrested and charged with unlawful contact with a minor, obscene and other sexual materials and performances, solicitation and attempt to possess child pornography, and criminal use of a communication facility; as well as a misdemeanor charge of corruption of minors.
He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge John D. Whitesell of Mountainhome, and taken to the Monroe County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 27.
He will appear in front of Judge Whitesell on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 10:45 A.M. for a preliminary hearing.