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Valley News Dispatch

Leechburg mayor: Convicted police chief Diebold to be fired soon

| Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, 12:42 p.m.
Suspended Leechburg Police Chief Mike Diebold
Suspended Leechburg Police Chief Mike Diebold

Suspended Leechburg police Chief Michael Diebold will soon be fired following his guilty plea to felony charges that he solicited sex from an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl, according to the borough’s mayor.

Leechburg Mayor Wayne Dobos said Diebold will be decertified by the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission in a “few days.”

“Because of Diebold pleading guilty to felonies, it’s the law that he be terminated as chief of police,” Dobos said during a phone interview Tuesday after attending Diebold’s plea hearing in Greensburg.

Diebold, 41, was suspended without pay following his Jan. 5 arrest on charges he solicited sex online from what he thought was a teen girl but was actually an agent with the state Attorney General Office’s predator task force.

He pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony charges of statutory sexual assault, attempted statutory sexual assault, unlawful restraint and criminal use of a communications device and sentenced to nine to 23 months in jail. His defense attorney, Duke George, said Diebold will be eligible for probation on Jan. 28 because of time already served.

Dobos said he will make an announcement regarding Diebold’s employment at the next borough council meeting on Dec. 18.

The borough hasn’t decided what to do next.

“This matter will be up in the air until the council and I get together and decide what avenues we could go with, whether we go without a police chief or go with one,” Dobos said.

Jason Schaeffer will remain the department’s officer in charge, Dobos said.

The borough offered at least two resignation packages to Diebold. The latest came with a Nov. 30 deadline to accept.

“We never had any correspondence from Diebold on that,” Dobos said. “It’s over with. Diebold won’t receive any additional money from the borough. He will only get the money he had previously put into his pension.”

Dobos said the borough is looking to the future.

“The borough can now have this phase of problems over and move on,” the mayor said.

Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.

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