Ins Agent Charged In Case Involving Bucks County Girl, 15 The N.y. Resident Is Alleged To Have Arranged A Meeting With Her Via The Internet. Local Police Met Him Instead.

Posted: January 20, 2001

NEWTOWN BOROUGH — Middletown Township police yesterday arrested a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agent from upstate New York and charged him with arranging a sexual liaison with a 15-year-old Middletown girl over the Internet.

Brandon J. Clifford, 27, of Sackets Harbor, was arraigned last night before District Justice Donald Nasshorn on a felony charge of interference with the custody of minors and misdemeanor charges of unlawful communication with a minor, corruption of minors, and solicitation to commit indecent assault. He was taken to Bucks County prison after failing to post $500,000 bail.

Using the screen name "BJCSKI," Clifford, a part-time high school ski coach, first contacted the girl Aug. 31 through America Online's Instant Message program, Chief Deputy Bucks County District Attorney Gary Gambardella said. Clifford offered to teach her a disabling form of self-defense focusing on a man's groin, Gambardella said.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, the girl reported Clifford's offer to her parents, who called police.

The two officers who subsequently took the girl's place at the keyboard discussed with Clifford going to a Holiday Inn in Cherry Hill or Center City Philadelphia for overnight stays, or a trip to West Virginia for the weekend, the affidavit said.

"Young kids can quickly find themselves in West Virginia with a guy like this" if they are not careful, said Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons, who stressed the importance of the girl's telling her father.

Posing as the girl, police Detective Daniel E. Baranoski made arrangements Thursday, according to the affidavit, for Clifford to make the 300-plus mile drive from Sackets Harbor to pick up the girl from her junior high school at 1:15 p.m. yesterday.

Instead, when Clifford arrived in his green Ford Explorer, he met police, who found a .40-caliber handgun, a badge, three loaded clips, and handcuffs - all work-issued - in the sport-utility vehicle.

Nasshorn ordered Clifford to turn over his weapon, badge, ammunition and handcuffs.

Matthew P. Blanchard's e-mail address is mblanchard@phillynews.com

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