WILMINGTON, Del. — A former Delaware bank vice president was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison for attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Delaware State Police.
Kirk Simmons, 60, of Newark, Delaware, was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release following his prison sentence and register as a sex offender.
At the time of his criminal conduct, Simmons was employed as a vice president at Bank of America's Newark facility. Bank of America terminated Simmons's employment following notification of his criminal conduct.
"Today's sentencing serves as a powerful reminder of the consequences of sexually exploiting children," said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. "HSI and our law enforcement partners are relentless in our pursuit of those who prey on children and engage in this perverse behavior."
According to court documents, Simmons was arrested by the Delaware Child Predator Task Force 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. An undercover Delaware State Police detective assigned to the task force posed as the father.
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 July 18, 2013, where they both would engage in sex acts with the 13-year-old daughter.
That day, Simmons left his office at Bank of America's Deerfield facility and drove to a Newark hotel, where he was arrested by task force members. 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.
"I want to thank the Delaware Child Predator Task Force for its outstanding work in this case," said U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III. "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.Â 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."
"The Delaware Child Predator Task Force works hard every day to identify and arrest dangerous predators like this defendant who are searching our communities for young victims," said Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. "Our children are safer today because of that work and the shared commitment of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners. Our work to protect kids never ends."
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.