Report offers details of local educator arrested in online sex sting

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – A man who has a long history of dealing with children in area schools has been arrested in an online child sex sting.

Mark Pickel faces charges of enticement, attempting to have sex with a minor and transportation of child pornography.

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A Chattanooga Police officer was working undercover online on a social network platform.

The officer made contact in a group called “Loving Kids 1 Private Room.”

The officer posed as a mother with a daughter who “expressed an interest in participating in sexual activity with the infant.”

A police report says a user, later identified as Pickel posted the following statements:

“Just love little girls.”

“mom and daughter together is my ultimate.”

The report says the user expressed his ideal ages for sex as 4 and 8.

At a later date, the user asked if the “mom” was really a cop.

“just don’t want to be ambushed.  My kids need their daddy even if he does have different desires.”

He said he would screenshot “her” statement that she was not law enforcement to protect him.

Prosecutors say the officer also documented the user posting child pornography at the site.

They set up a meeting at a north Georgia hotel on February 11th.

Pickel was arrested when he showed up.

Pickel worked at various school districts in the area, including Athens City Schools from 2008 to 2011.

He worked as an assistant principal and then principal.

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