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Valley News Dispatch

Judge rejects bid to reinstate suspended Leechburg police Chief Michael Diebold's bond

Rich Cholodofsky
| Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 5:51 p.m.
Suspended Leechburg Police Chief Mike Diebold
Suspended Leechburg Police Chief Mike Diebold

A Westmoreland County judge on Tuesday rejected a bid to reinstate the $500,000 bond currently holding suspended Leechburg police Chief Michael Diebold in jail.

Diebold is awaiting trial on charges that he solicited a juvenile for sex.

Common Pleas Court Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio issued a court order denying the defense’s request to have Diebold released. That same court canceled a court hearing scheduled Tuesday to address pretrial issues.

Diebold, 40, was charged in January after state agents said he contacted an undercover investigator, posing as a 14-year-old girl, seeking a sexual relationship. Diebold was chief of police in Leechburg at the time of his arrest.

The judge in May revoked Diebold’s bond following a two-hour hearing in which agents contended he violated terms of his pretrial release that prohibited him from having contact with children and using the internet.

Witnesses said Diebold accessed computers at his mother’s appliance store and agents said he was spotted at his estranged wife’s home, alone with their infant son.

Diebold claimed he needed computer access to do his job at the store and that he believed he was entitled to have custody of the child, based on a ruling by a family court judge in Armstrong County.

His trial on four felony counts, including unlawful contact with a minor, attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor and criminal use of a computer, is tentatively scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, the defense this week filed court documents seeking access to computer and phone records used by Diebold and police during the investigation.

The judge said she will conduct a hearing regarding that request should prosecutors and the defense be unable to resolve those issues.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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