The events almost read as a bad script for a movie.
A beloved local police chief loses his arm at a firemen’s carnival attempting to shoot fireworks last summer. Emergency workers were able to keep him from bleeding to death by using a belt as a tourniquet.
Eighteen days after the accident, the police chief then marries his high school sweetheart. They have one child together.
On December 11, 2017, then-District Attorney Scott Andreassi welcomed the police chief back to a position on the Armstrong County Drug Task Force. Although he had a prosthetic arm, he was said to have qualified in management of his weapons.
Also on December 11, although qualifying to return to his job as a police chief, the Mayor said no and a dispute began. The community rallies behind him along with fellow officers in various municipalities. The council convened on December 19 and released a statement that they are considering reinstatement if he passes other competency tests, details of which they failed to make public.
This has been the events of the recent life of 40-year-old Leechburg Police Chief Michael W. Diebold.
The story took a turn last Friday when state prosecutors arrested Diebold at the Sheetz convenience store in Lower Burrell for enticing a minor child in prohibited/unlawful sexual activity. As he was questioned at the Lower Burrell Police Station, the details of his private life came to light.
On September 15, 2017, an online advertisement with the title: “Dominate male police officer seeks fun, discreet, sub playmate – m4w.” In the posting later verified to be Diebold, it stated: “I am a dom male that is also employed as a full time police officer. I hope that does not scare you off. I am white, straight, good looking, clean, d/d free, mentally stable and fun. I can also host or travel. I do have pics to share and I am very discreet. I am looking for a female sub for ongoing play sessions. I do not have a set type of woman so any age, race, or status may email me. I respect all limits and you do not need to be experienced. I hope to hear from someone soon.” Diebold included his online chat screen name as “kutecop4you.”
Special Agent Daniel Block with the Child Predator Section of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General posed as a 14-year-old girl and messaged Diebold through online chat. On several occasions, Diebold was told he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl in the 8th grade. Diebold continued to chat and solicited the child for unlawful sexual contact. Diebold sent various sexually explicit photos of himself.
Diebold arranged to meet whom he thought was the 14-year-old girl at approximately 1PM last Friday. At approximately 1:10 PM, Diebold was taken into custody.
During questioning, Diebold stated that he has been utilizing the internet to post ads in the personal sections for the last several years. Diebold acknowledged to having conversations about sex with the other Kik online chat user, the purported minor that he was attempting to meet at Sheetz. Diebold admitted that he knew that sexual contact with a 14-year-old child was wrong and illegal, and stated that his life was totally over.
Diebold was arraigned before District Magisterial Judge Cheryl J. Peck-Yakopec. He was placed in the Westmoreland County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond. His Preliminary Hearing has been set for Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
The weekend brought a solemn mood to Leechburg and surrounding communities. Fellow officers and members of the law enforcement community who originally stood with him through the past six months of turmoil were stunned and refused public comment.
Prayers were offered up at various churches yesterday for he and his family.