A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge on June 29 found a 31-year-old man guilty of soliciting sex from a 15-year-old fictional boy created by an undercover police detective who posted messages on the gay app Grindr under the name “Kinky Twinkie.”
The guilty verdict handed down for Germantown resident Daniel Read followed a one-day non-jury trial in which information surfaced that the undercover officer initially created a Grindr profile for Kinky Twinkie as a 17-year-old male high school student.
The legal age of consent in Maryland is 16.
At the time of his arrest in December, Read served as a Montgomery County District Court commissioner, a position that involves performing some of the duties of a judge, including setting bail for prisoners. He was dismissed from his job shortly after his arrest.
A police charging document filed in court says that under the profile of “Dan,” Read began to communicate with the detective posing as the student through text messages and private messages on Grindr.
“During these messages your affiant advised Dan that he (Kinky Twinky) was actually 15 years old,” the charging document says. After several additional exchanges of messages, Dan allegedly asked the student to send him nude photos of himself.
“By utilizing open source libraries, your affiant was able to obtain images to send to Dan as he requested,” says the charging document, which was prepared by the arresting officer, who is identified on the document as Det. Nick Jerman.
The document says Read eventually told the fictional student through a text message that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with him and agreed to meet him at a McDonald’s restaurant in Germantown.
According to the charging document, police officers intercepted Read in his car and arrested him on a charge of sexual solicitation of a minor as he approached the McDonald’s. It says Read had given the undercover officer posing as the student his cell phone number during a prior communication.
Police used the number to trace Read’s identity and home address. At some point before the arrest, police visited the street where Read lived and saw his car, which enabled them to recognize the car when Read drove to the McDonald’s.
“Yesterday’s verdict is clear,” said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesperson for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case. “Do not seek out sex with a minor. Do not use social media to lure underage boys for a sexual encounter,” Korionoff said.
“The underage person you may be ‘chatting with’ might just be an undercover police officer,” he said. “Daniel Read used poor judgment and committed a criminal offense. He will be held accountable for his crime.”
Under Maryland law Read faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and possible placement on a sex offender registry. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Sharon Burrell on Aug. 15.
Read’s attorney, David Moyse, said Read’s arrest took place 30 days after he and the undercover officer began communicating with each other on Grindr and after Read developed what the attorney said was an emotional bond with what he thought was a confused young man who he wanted to help.
“And the real truth is he was targeted, and for 30 days was speaking with this young man thinking that they had a real relationship,” Moyse said. “And Mr. Read identified with the idea of a sexually confused or in-the-closet 15-year-old who was being raised Catholic just like Mr. Read and who described himself as not understood by friends and family or his religion.”
According to Moyse, although Burrell said in her verdict that Read’s actions met the criteria of sexual solicitation of a minor she also found that he was “emotionally induced” to create a relationship with the fictitious student.
“They preyed on a lot of issues that Mr. Read dealt with in his own adolescence to create that bond,” said Moyse. “And in the very end they used jealousy to get him to go over the edge.”
Moyse said transcripts of hundreds of text messages between Read and the detective posing as the student, which were introduced as evidence at the trial, show that the detective repeatedly raised the issue of sex and made it clear that he wanted to have sex with Read.
“Mr. Read kept saying, look, wait until you’re 16 and it’s legal and then we’ll meet,” Moyse quoted Read as saying. “After 30 days the officer said you know what? You’re Mr. Right but I need Mr. Right Now,” Moyse recounted.
“And he went back on Grindr presumably to find another guy,” said Moyse. “And Daniel was so jealous he said fine, let’s fuck.”
It was at that point, Moyse said, that police and prosecutors determined Read crossed the line and violated the statute prohibiting sexual solicitation of a minor.
“To be very fair, they had prior conversations from Mr. Read with other people where he expressed interest in 15-year old boys and 14-year-old boys,” Moyse said. “These were all kind of internet talk. It wasn’t with actual 15-year-olds. But the judge found that he still had the desire, the predisposition to do this,” said Moyse.
“That’s why it’s not entrapment,” he said, as defined and interpreted under the law.
Moyse said he has made a request with the judge to have the sentencing postponed to allow Read to be further evaluated by a mental health professional who will prepare a pre-sentencing report for the judge.