WILMINGTON, Del. – A Newark man, and former Bank of America vice president, pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Delaware State Police investigated the case.
Kirk A. Simmons, 59, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release following his prison sentence of at least five years to life. Simmons also will be required to register as a sex offender in any U.S. jurisdiction in which he lives, works or attends school.
"This case shows that exploitation of children has severe consequences for those who engage in these depraved activities," said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. "HSI is committed to investigating these cases; working alongside our agency partners to help protect the citizens of our neighboring communities."
According to the indictment, Simmons was employed as a vice president at Bank of America’s Newark offices at the time of his arrest. Bank of America terminated Simmons’s employment following notification of criminal conduct.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Simmons also worked as a professional private tutor through WyzAnt Tutoring when arrested. The profile states he provided private in-home tutoring at the high school and college levels.
Simmons was arrested by the Delaware Child Predator Task Force July 18, after he arrived at a Newark hotel, where he intended to engage in sexual activity with two people believed to be a 13-year-old girl and her biological father.
Simmons responded to a personals advertisement for "fam love/taboo" on an adult social networking website in June. Simmons believed the advertisement had been posted by the father of a 13-year-old girl who would make his daughter available for sex with adult males. In fact, the "father" was an undercover Delaware State Police detective assigned to the Delaware Child Predator Task Force.
Over the course of the next month, Simmons and the undercover detective engaged in numerous online chat conversations, where Simmons indicated and graphically described that he wanted to engage in sexual activity with the father and his child.
After a number of online conversations, Simmons and the father agreed to meet at a Newark hotel July 18, where they were to both engage in sex acts with the 13-year-old daughter.
Delaware State Police observed Simmons driving directly from his workplace to the hotel. He was arrested by Child Predator Task Force members when he arrived in the hotel parking lot. In a recorded interview with a Delaware State Police detective, Simmons admitted 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 photograph the sexual activity.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. McAndrew.
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.