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Valley News Dispatch

Suspended Leechburg police Chief Diebold waives child sex charges to court

Matthew Medsger
| Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
Attorney Duke George talks with reporters on behalf of his client, Mike Diebold, after Diebold's hearing at District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec's office in Allegheny Township last month. (Trib photo)
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Attorney Duke George talks with reporters on behalf of his client, Mike Diebold, after Diebold's hearing at District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec's office in Allegheny Township last month. (Trib photo)
Mike Diebold, right, arrives for his preliminary hearing on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, with his attorney, Duke George, and his mother, Karen Diebold.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Mike Diebold, right, arrives for his preliminary hearing on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, with his attorney, Duke George, and his mother, Karen Diebold.
Karen Diebold, mother of suspended Leechburg police Chief Mike Diebold, talks with reporters after her son's preliminary hearing on charges of attempting to solicit sex from a child on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Karen Diebold, mother of suspended Leechburg police Chief Mike Diebold, talks with reporters after her son's preliminary hearing on charges of attempting to solicit sex from a child on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.
Westmoreland County Sheriff's deputies provided added security at District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec's office in Allegheny Township during a preliminary hearing for suspended Leechburg police Chief Mike Diebold on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.
Sean Stipp Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review| Tribune-Review
Westmoreland County Sheriff's deputies provided added security at District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec's office in Allegheny Township during a preliminary hearing for suspended Leechburg police Chief Mike Diebold on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

Suspended Leechburg police Chief Mike Diebold is headed to trial on charges he tried to solicit sex from an underage girl via the internet.

Diebold, 40, of Forks Church Road, Gilpin, pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday afternoon then waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec in Allegheny Township.

Duke George, Diebold's attorney, spoke briefly to reporters afterward, saying that the defense has several pieces of evidence presented to them by the district attorney's office that have yet to be examined.

“There were a number of items in discovery that we weren't privy to,” he said. “When we get that stuff, we'll be ready to go.”

Diebold declined to comment as he left the courtroom with his attorney, but he did tell a Tribune-Review reporter that he is doing “all right.”

Diebold is scheduled for formal arraignment before Westmoreland County Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio on March 8.

Suspended without pay from his job as Leechburg's police chief, Diebold has been free on $500,000 bond since Jan. 11.

He was arrested Jan. 5 after, police say, he arranged to meet with an undercover agent he thought was a teenage girl, according to a statement released by Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Diebold's mother, Karen Diebold, said she doesn't believe the charges against her son.

She said he is going to continue to fight to clear his name.

“He's got some issues to work out but, as far as we're concerned, they aren't criminal,” she said. “The whole thing at the end, about certain things, it's just not true.

“He's going to fight this to the end, and I'm going to be right there with him.”

The small waiting room outside of Yakopec's courtroom was filled to capacity, mostly by reporters and Diebold's family, ahead of the scheduled hearing.

Some were there for other reasons.

“I just wanted to look him in the face,” Leechburg resident Linda Luthern said. “He was hated before all of this happened.”

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com, or via Twitter @matthew_medsger.

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