Federal Indictment for Former Lackawanna County Educator

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PECKVILLE -- The FBI has now taken over the case against a former educator from Lackawanna County accused of enticing minors.

Mark Kandel of Peckville turned himself in Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Scranton.

Federal prosecutors said he used both Facebook and text message to try to convince boys to send him explicit pictures.

Kandel is the husband of Newswatch 16's Marisa Burke. He was sent to the Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton without bail now that the FBI has gotten involved in the case that Newswatch 16 first told you about last month. 

The case against Kandel has grown, he's accused of having inappropriate contact online with five teenage boys over the last year.

Only hours after a federal grand jury handed up an indictment against him, Mark Kandel turned himself in at the Federal Courthouse in Scranton to face new charges brought on by the FBI.

The child pornography case against the former Lackawanna County educator has grown, and the charges are more serious. In addition to state child pornography charges filed last month, Kandel now faces five federal charges of online enticement.

At his arraignment, US Attorneys said they have evidence that Kandel sent text messages and Facebook messages to five teenage boys where he asked to exchange sexual pictures or massages for money.

Prosecutors said they found evidence after searching Kandel's Peckville home last month and from interviewing the teenage boys and their parents.

Detectives said they found 12,000 text messages sent from Kandel's phone in October alone, 95% of them sent to minors. US Attorneys said when the boys' parents became suspicious, Kandel even bought a cell phone for one of his alleged victims.

A federal judge heard some of the details of the case and called Kandel a "danger to society." He was sent to prison without bail until his trial scheduled for February.

Kandel's attorney, Frank Santomauro, admitted there's a tough case against his client, that brings much stiffer penalties if Kandel is convicted. He faces a possible 50 years in federal prison.

"Obviously when you're looking at 10 years to life on each count, it's humbling, but when you look at it and hear some of the arguments made inside at this hearing, it's all allegations," said Santomauro.

Prosecutors said the evidence against Mark Kandel continues to grow, and the investigation is ongoing. They think there may be more potential victims. Prosecutors added that they don't think anyone else will be charged in the investigation.

Kandel is expected to remain locked up until his trial scheduled for February.