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Youth Coach Convicted of Trying to Lure NKY Teen for Sex

A former local youth tennis coach was convicted Thursday on charges that he attempted to meet with a 14-year old girl that he hoped to rape.

Timothy Mitchell, 62, developed a relationship online with a 14-year old girl, who turned out to be Kenton County Police Detective Brian Jones. Mitchell sent sexual comments, questions, and a photo of his genitals as he requested to meet the girl, despite being reminded that she was underage.

According to prosecutors, Mitchell urged the girl to tell her guardian that she was taking tennis lessons from him.

He also told the girl that he wanted to be her "daddy lover".

Mitchell communicated with the girl for only one week before driving from his home in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Mt. Airy to a location in Kenton County to meet the girl. Instead, Mitchell was met by two Kenton County Police officers who arrested him.

Mitchell had no undergarments on beneath his track suit and also possessed a mobile phone that he had planned to give the girl so that her guardian could not track her calls, prosecutors said.

Det. Jones brought Mitchell in for questioning but did not disclose he was really the "child" communicating with Mitchell. After Jones described how angry the child's guardian was upon learning of grown man soliciting the child for sex, Mitchell proceeded to write her an apology letter, reassuring her he had no intentions of kidnapping the girl.

On Thursday, after a three-day trial and twenty minutes of deliberation, a Kenton County jury convicted Mitchell on charges of unlawful use of an electronic device to procure a minor for sex.

The jury recommended a two-and-a-half year prison sentence. Mitchell will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Final sentencing is scheduled for September.

"In the criminal justice system, sexual crimes are considered especially heinous, but sexual crimes against children are the worst of the worst," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Emily Arnzen, who, along with co-prosecutor Corey Plybon, declined to accept a plea deal for Mitchell.

Arnzen said that some people erroneously discount the vicious nature of online predators when they discover the child was actually a police officer.

"If it wasn't Detective Jones, it would have be a real child and she would receive a life sentence suffering from the trauma of being raped by this man," said Arnzen. "Thank God for great cops like Detective Jones, and thank God our Kenton County Police fund a position dedicated to hunting online predators."

Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders applauded the judge, jury, police, and his assistant prosecutors. 

"Being the first trial in Kentucky during this pandemic wasn't easy but Kenton County is accustomed to leading the way," said Sanders, who added that he was glad the first jury trial in almost five months put a child predator behind bars. "These cases are a priority in Kenton County and it's a good reminder that protecting our children is job number one!"

-Staff report