A 34-year-old Easton firefighter quit this week after soliciting a 13-year-old girl online for sex after the girl’s mother encouraged him in a chat app, records show judicial.
The “mother” was an agent with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, who conducted a sting and charged Michael Seaman with attempted sexual offenses involving a child in Schuylkill County, according to authorities and court documents.
Seaman, who Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said joined the department about a year ago, was arraigned March 25 in Pottsville, according to court documents. The Jackson Township, New Jersey resident was charged with unlawful contact with a minor – sexual offenses (two counts), felony attempt to involuntarily deviate sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16, felony attempt to statutory sexual assault, 11 years older and attempting to criminally use a commination facility, according to court documents.
The attorney general’s office said in court documents that an undercover officer posing as a woman contacted Seaman on a website to discuss shared sexual interests. The mother was then on an app looking for a man to have sex with her 13-year-old daughter and on February 28, Seaman contacted her and she told him to contact her daughter, according to court documents.
On March 4, Seaman contacted the 13-year-old “girl” named “Britney,” on the same app, records show. The “girl” told Seaman her age, but their discussions continued and over the days “became sexual in nature,” according to court documents. Eventually, Seaman agreed to quit his job at an Easton fire station and meet the 13-year-old in Pottsville for sex, according to court documents.
He was arrested March 25 in Pottsville and, after waiving his right to remain silent, admitted to agents from the attorney general’s office that he was there to have sex with the child, according to court documents. .
Panto and Fire Chief Henry Hennings said the city views its role in the situation as a personnel issue. Both confirmed that Seaman no longer works for the city.
Panto added that Seaman, who was hired on February 15, 2021, failed to show up for two hearings with the city over this personnel issue and before the city could fire Seaman, he resigned effective of Tuesday.
Panto said Seaman “was not indicative of our department. He was one in 45 individuals.”
The mayor said he strongly supports the other firefighters.
“I hope he gets the help he needs,” Panto said of Seaman. The mayor said he was unaware of the exact charges.
Seaman’s attorney, Sarah Hart Charette, of Gross McGinley LLP in Allentown, did not immediately return a voicemail requesting comment on the charges against her client.
Seaman was jailed in the Schuylkill County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail, but was released on bail March 28, records show.
Seaman’s preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on April 20, records show. District Judge James Reiley is overseeing the case.
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Tony Rhodin can be reached at [email protected].