Crime

Campbell University education major charged with 'sexting' a 12-year-old boy

Kevin Patrick Barron
Kevin Patrick Barron Courtesy of the Montgomery County, Pa. District Attorney's Office

Authorities in Pennsylvania have charged a Campbell University student-athlete with using social media to have sexually explicit conversations with a 12-year-old boy.

Kevin Patrick Barron, 21, was charged March 29 with two misdemeanor counts of corruption of a minor.

Kevin R. Steele, the district attorney in Montgomery County, Pa., made the announcement in a news release Monday.

Barron, a native of Horsham, Pa., is an elementary education major at Campbell University and works as a student teacher at an elementary school. He also volunteers for youth sports programs in Montgomery County, Steele said.

Barron, who is classified as junior, is currently actively enrolled. He played first base on the school's baseball team.

"He is no longer a member" of the team, Haven Hottel, a campus spokeswoman, said Tuesday afternoon.

The mother of a 12-year-old boy arrived at the Hatboro Police Department with the child's cellphone on Jan. 29, according to Steele. The woman told police that someone had reached out to her son via Snapchat and Instagram and was having sexually explicit conversations with him.

She told officers that she had learned of the conversations the night before, when her son was acting strangely while using the phone.

"She took the phone and saw a message regarding her son's penis," Steele said in the news release. "The defendant had requested a photo of the boy's genitalia, and the boy had sent one."

Detectives think Barron had reached out to the child soon after one of the boy's basketball games in December. Barron had reportedly refereed the game.

Police say the college student's conversations with the child on social media were initially about basketball and the boy's performance, but "they turned sexual in nature, culminating in the request for a sexually explicit photo from the boy," Steele reported.

An agent with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation visited the Campbell University campus in Harnett County, about 30 miles south of Raleigh, on Feb. 23 and interviewed Barron. The college student admitted having social media conversations with the boy and receiving an image of the boy's genitalia, according to a criminal complaint.

Barron was released and ordered by a magistrate to have no contact with minors except as required for classes at Campbell University. The magistrate also ordered that Barron's student teaching activities "be supervised by a staff member at all times."

Hottel, the campus spokeswoman, citing student privacy laws, declined comment when asked if Barron would be allowed to continue student teaching.

Steele reminded parents that adults looking to prey on children frequently use the Internet and cellphone applications to make contact and groom them for future encounters. He described it as a way to privately contact a child without their parent's knowledge.

"Like this mother, parents must be vigilant when it comes to their child's cell phone use and periodically look at what's happening with it, who the child is communicating with and what's being said," Steele said in the news release. "Our children are trusting of adults, and while we don't want to make children fearful, we do want them to be wary of someone they don't know who reaches out to them via these applications."

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