A 21-year-old Horsham man who volunteered as a referee at kids’ basketball games allegedly used his position to meet a child whom he manipulated into sending a nude photo over Snapchat, Montgomery County prosecutors announced on Monday.
Kevin Patrick Barron, 21, who in addition to refereeing kids’ basketball also has been student-teaching at a North Carolina elementary school, was arrested and charged with corruption of a minor, prosecutors said.
They allege that Barron messaged the victim, a 12-year-old boy from Hatboro, on Snapchat and Instagram, and manipulated him into sending a nude photo. The victim’s mother reported the conversations to local police after discovering the conversation in January while examining her son’s iPhone 7.
“The mother learned of these conversations … when her son was acting strangely while using his phone. She took the phone and saw a message regarding her son’s penis,” the Montco DA’s office said in a press release. “The defendant had requested a photo of the boy’s genitalia, and the boy had sent one.”
Police said they discovered messages dating back to December from Barron to the victim. The image was sent via Snapchat after Barron allegedly urged the boy to send it, claiming it was “not a big deal” and telling him to “just do it.”
Barron, a student at Campbell University in North Carolina, was interviewed by North Carolina law enforcement on Feb. 23. He allegedly admitted participating in the conversation and receiving the picture. Barron denied saving the image. He was formally arrested and arraigned on March 29. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 19.
“Someone looking to prey on children often uses the internet and various cell phone applications to contact children and groom them for future encounters. It’s a way to privately contact the child. Like this mother, parents must be vigilant when it comes to their children’s cell phone use and periodically look at what’s happening with it, who the child is communicating with and what’s being said,” Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele said in a statement. “Our children are trusting of adults, and while we don’t want to make children fearful, we do want to teach them to be wary of someone they don’t know who reaches out to them via these applications.”