Buies Creek, N.C. — An elementary education student at Campbell University was arrested late last month by Pennsylvania authorities who accused the 21-year-old student of obtaining a sexually explicit photo of a 12-year-old boy.
Kevin Patrick Barron, of Horsham, Pa., was charged with two counts of corruption of a minor, according to Montgomery County (Pa.) District Attorney Kevin Steele.
Campbell officials said Barron is still enrolled, but he is no longer on the school’s baseball team.
A news release from Steele’s office said Barron is an elementary education major at Campbell and is a student teacher at a Harnett County elementary school. He is known for working with children with disabilities, both as a coach and a student teacher.
Officials with Harnett County Schools couldn’t be reached Tuesday to determine if Barron would be allowed back into local classrooms when schools return from spring break.
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“If we get a report of an incident that’s happened off campus, we certainly have the right and the authority to look into that incident, investigate that ourselves and then make a decision as to what kind of response we would make to the student,” said Dennis Bazemore, vice president of student life at Campbell. “We will use our policies that are in place to investigate this ourselves and then to respond in the best way to maintain the integrity of our entire campus.”
Pennsylvania authorities said Barron worked as a referee at boys basketball games in that state and reached out to the victim on Snapchat and Instagram following a game in December.
“The conversations began about basketball and the boy’s performance,” authorities said. “Over time, they turned sexual in nature, culminating in the request for a sexually explicit photo from the boy.”
The boy’s mother went to the Hatboro, Pa., police at the end of January with her son’s cellphone to report that he was having sexually explicit conversations with someone.
An investigator took possession of the phone and the Snapchat account and began conversing with others as if she were the boy, and more explicit texts were sent to the account.
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Authorities said they identified Barron as the sender, and according to court documents, he admitted to the explicit conversations and obtaining a photo of the boy’s genitals during a February interview with a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent at Campbell.
“Someone looking to prey on children often uses the internet and various cell phone applications to contact children and groom them for future encounters,” Steele said in a statement. “Like this mother, parents must be vigilant when it comes to their children’s cell phone use and periodically look at what’s happening with it, who the child is communicating with and what’s being said.”
Fellow student-athletes at Campbell said Tuesday the allegations disappoint them.
“Him working around kids, that’s not cool at all,” said Demontez Oliver, a sophomore basketball player. “Kids look up to us, and him being an athlete here in the community, being so together, it’s kind of shocking that that happened.”
“I wouldn’t be able to handle it as a parent. That would be too emotional,” Campbell student Kristen Ingram said. “It’s hard to hear, it’s a small community.”
Barron was arraigned last week and released with a condition of having “no contact with minors except as required for classes at Campbell University and such contact be supervised by a staff member at all times,” according to authorities.