WILMINGTON, Del. — A former bank vice president was arrested Wednesday on charges of attempted online enticement of a minor. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Delaware Child Predator Task Force.
An undercover Delaware State Police detective posing as a father posted an online advertisement asking men to join him for sex with his 13-year-old daughter. Kirk A. Simmons, 59, of Newark, Del., replied to that advertisement. At the time, 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 alleged conduct.
According to Simmon's LinkedIn profile, he also currently works as a "professional private tutor" through WyzAnt Tutoring, "providing private, in-home tutoring at the high school and college levels."
If convicted of the charges, Simmons faces a possible life sentence in prison and a $250,000 fine. He must also register as a sex offender.
Simmons began his online relationship with the undercover officer, posing as a father of a minor, in June, when Simmons responded to a "personals" advertisement for "fam love/taboo" on an adult social networking website. Through online chats, Simmons indicated and graphically described how he wanted to engage in sexual activity with the purported father and his child. After a number of online conversations, the father agreed to bring his fictitious 13-year-old daughter to a Newark hotel July 18, where Simmons would meet them for sexual activity.
Delaware State Police officers observed Simmons driving directly from his workplace to the hotel July 18. In a recorded interview with a 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 he brought a digital camera with him to record the sexual activity. Task force members arrested him once he arrived at the hotel.
Simmons was released from state custody in July after posting bail on a state charge of third degree attempted rape of a minor. The task force then referred the case to HSI and the U.S. Attorney's Office so they could pursue federal charges. The state charge is still pending.
Simmons will remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Sept. 3.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE 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 (1-800-843-5678) or its online resource for reporting child sexual exploitation.
HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.