Lebanon man pleads guilty to child pornography charge

Michael Kirkwood is scheduled for sentencing April 5.

A 59-year-old Lebanon man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to accessing with the intent to view child pornography found on his computers last June, the latest twist in an investigation begun more than a year ago by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in Cleveland.

Federal authorities found 84 images on Michael Kirkwood's computers, downloaded using an America Online account after arresting him in June 2016 for enticement and coercion of a 13-year-old Kettering girl he was "grooming" for sex in communications through Facebook Messenger, according to court records and statements Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Dayton.

Kirkwood was arrested at the Dayton Mall, where he was expecting to meet the girl, one of about 20 he admitted communicating with online, according to court records.

Instead he was was exchanging text and instant messages with a detective from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office who for three months assumed the girl’s identity to gather evidence and ultimately set up the meeting at the mall.

Since then, Kirkwood has been held without bond at the Shelby County Jail. An online petition was started as part of efforts to keep him behind bars.

During the hearing, Judge Walter Rice described how Kirkwood was expecting to meet the girl, buy her panties and then have sex with her in his truck.

The judge also described in detail images of child pornography found on Kirkwood’s computers, including images of men having sex with young girls.

The plea agreement calls for Kirkwood to be sentenced to from 7 to 9 years in prison and surrender seven computer devices seized during the search of his home in Lebanon.

Investigators also found four pairs of young girl’s panties in a pocket of Kirkwood’s golf bag, according to an affidavit filed by Donald P. Moesle Jr., a special agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs enforcement.

The child pornography charge and plea agreement were filed and the enticement and coercion case dropped on Dec. 6.

Rice accepted Kirkwood’s plea, but scheduled sentencing for April 5.

“It’s gonna be a lengthy one,” Rice said.

While delaying sentencing, Rice warned Kirkwood he faced up to more than 12 years in prison, as well as a lifetime of sex offender registration and reporting, and as much as $255,000 in fines.

If dissatisfied with the sentence, Rice said Kirkwood could withdraw his plea and “start all over again.”

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