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Psychiatrist Michael Kessler charged with child sex offenses

By Randy Kraft, WFMZ.com Reporter, RKraft@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 21 2013 04:53:04 PM CDT
Psychiatrist Michael Kessler
BARRETT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -

Psychiatrist Michael Nathaniel Kessler of Barrett Township was arrested for sex crimes involving a minor Friday by detectives from the Monroe County District Attorney's office.

The 43-year-old  Kessler was charged with several felonies, including unlawful contact with a minor; obscene and other sexual materials and performances; solicitation and attempt to possess child pornography, and criminal use of a communication facility.

He also was charged with one misdemeanor: corruption of minors.

Detectives arrested Kessler after an early morning search of his Spruce Cabin Road residence, where law enforcement personnel armed with a search warrant seized several computers and cell phones.

Officers from the Barrett Township Police Department and deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office assisted county detectives in that search.

The charges against Kessler stem from an investigation that began in early May when an alert mother noticed suspicious activity on her 13-year-old son’s Facebook account. 

She became concerned that someone was contacting her son through Facebook using what appeared to be a fake profile that contained images and information pertaining to young boys in various states of undress.

The woman contacted police, who referred her to Detective Brian Webbe of the county district attorney's office. Webbe is a member of the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and specializes in computer crimes.

Webbe assumed control of the child’s Facebook account and began posing as the boy.

Kessler, whom police say was using the fake Facebook profile to impersonate a 14-year-old boy, sent  Webbe pornographic photographs and videos through Facebook, email, and his cell phone.

Police said Kessler repeatedly asked for an intimate photo of the 13-year-old boy. He also solicited Webbe for sex.

Through investigation, Webbe was able to positively identify Kessler as the individual behind the fake Facebook profile.

Kessler was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge John D. Whitesell of Mountainhome and sent  to the Monroe County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail. He will appear for a preliminary hearing in front of Whitesell at 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

Police reported that Kessler previously had a practice along Route 447 in Smithfield Township.