The wife of a disgraced Pennsylvania police chief has broken her silence after her husband was arrested on Friday for trying to solicit sex from an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl, KDKA reports.
Leechburg Police Chief Michael Diebold made headlines earlier this year when he lost part of his left arm in a near-fatal fireworks accident. But after his story garnered him support from across the country, the hometown hero swiftly fell from grace.
The 40-year-old police chief was arrested on Friday and charged with unlawful contact with a minor and criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse after it was revealed he had sent an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl multiple inappropriate photos and even tried to meet up with her in person.
Danielle Reinke Diebold, the former police chief’s wife, sent a statement to KDKA on Sunday describing the impact her husband’s alleged crime has had on her family.
“They say God will never give you more than you can handle, but he did this time.
I have never hurt so bad in all my life.
I don’t know how to pick up all these broken pieces and find a way to put them back together and go on with my life, but I have to try to find a way for my children. Our lives have been completely shattered.
I am broken, devastated, humiliated, and I was completely blindsided.
He was the first man ever in my life who never made me question, never gave me a gut feeling, never a bad instinct or sign and we were even in the process of planning to extend our family.
This is not who we knew. We knew a loving, caring father and husband and we are grieving the loss of that man.
On the other hand, we are dealing with the raw emotions of having someone you loved and admired be charged with committing a terrible crime.
I feel like they are two different people — but they are not.
I will never find the right words to say but I want to say I am truly so sorry to everyone out there including any minor that may have been involved, our community, family and friends.”
Diebold and his wife married in a televised ceremony in July 2017, less than a month after his life-changing accident, according to CNN. The pair had welcomed their infant son not long beforehand.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro slammed Diebold’s actions as “particularly heinous” because he is a public official who is “sworn to serve and protect the community.”
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of children and my office will prosecute any offender to the fullest extent of the law, no matter who they are,” he added.
After he was arrested, Diebold allegedly told investigators that he was aware that sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old child was illegal and that his life was “totally over.”