Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kandel faces new sex charge

February 19. 2013 8:47PM
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SCRANTON – A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a Lackawanna County man on charges he used a cellular phone to solicit sex from five minors.

Mark Kandel, 52, of Blythe Drive, Peckville, is charged with five counts of online enticement of a minor.

The indictment comes less than a month after Kandel was charged by Lackawanna County law enforcement authorities with soliciting sex from a teenage boy through text messages.

Kandel, who previously worked as a curriculum specialist with the Northeast Education Intermediate Unit 19 in Archbald and had served on the Scranton School Board in the 1990s, also pleaded guilty four years ago to supplying alcohol to minors during a party at his home.

He was sentenced to 90 days home confinement and nine months probation on that charge.

Details on the charges filed against Kandel on Wednesday were not contained in the indictment.

Following his Nov. 7 arrest, investigators said that Kandel had exchanged approximately 900 messages with a 17-year-old boy in October and many of them the teenager described as very perverted.

They added that after his arrest on the alcohol charge, they received complaints that Kandel, who considered himself a life coach for teenage boys, was having inappropriate online relationships and physical contact with minors, but did not file charges.

But on Nov. 1, the 17-year-old boy contacted the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office by email about his contact with Kandel, whom he met a month earlier through friends. They told the boy Kandel helped them with their school work, according to court papers.

Kandel gave his business card with contact information to the boy. The boy sent an email to Kandel asking for help with a college entrance exam essay and stayed in touch by texting. Their communication was harmless at first but quickly escalated to sexual content, the papers state.

In an interview with Lackawanna County investigators, Kandel said he considered himself a mentor to boys from troubled homes. He said the sexual messages have some truth and he becomes overwhelmed with sexual feelings during the messaging, court papers state.

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