A federal Transportation Security Administration agent and former Pittsburgh police officer has been charged after a year-long investigation with sending sexually suggestive texts to a 13-year-old girl.
John Serak, 51, of Baden, was arrested Tuesday by Allegheny County Police and faces multiple felony charges. He has been suspended from his job at the Pittsburgh International Airport, where he worked for TSA as a security specialist in explosives.
The investigation began in March 2016, when the girl’s parents showed police text messages that Mr. Serak sent the girl that talked about cuddling, according to a criminal complaint. In the messages, Mr. Serak asked the girl for pictures of her from the “waist up and waist down,” the complaint said.
The allegations were originally brought to a North Fayette school resource officer, who referred the case to Allegheny County Police.
The girl told her parents about the texts because she felt uncomfortable. The girl was a friend of Mr. Serak’s daughter, according to the complaint. In March 2016, a detective took over the girl’s phone, posed as the girl and continued to text with Mr. Serak for months, the complaint said.
Between March and October 2016 the detective and Mr. Serak texted regularly, according to the complaint. In a transcript of text messages listed in the criminal complaint, Mr. Serak texted that he dreamed about kissing and marrying the girl, that she’d look “hot” in a bathing suit and discussed touching her body.
“The issue for me is part of me wants to snuggle with you like a father figure but the other part of me wants to snuggle with you because you are a very attractive young lady,” reads one text listed in the complaint.
Mr. Serak repeatedly warned the girl to delete the text messages they exchanged, and told her that if anyone saw their texts, they would never be able to see each other again, the complaint said.
Mr. Serak did not text the girl’s phone after October 2016, according to the complaint. After the initial investigation, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit reviewed the case, according to the complaint.
Mr. Serak is charged with unlawful contact with a minor, criminal solicitation, criminal use of a communication facility, attempted corruption of a minor and attempted indecent assault on a person under age 16.
Mr. Serak, who resigned from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police in 2007, has now been suspended from his job at the TSA pending removal, said Michelle Negron, a TSA spokeswoman.
“TSA does not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct,” she wrote in an email. “TSA is cooperating with local law enforcement officials as they continue to investigate the allegation.”
Mr. Serak is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on March 28. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Shelly Bradbury: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1197 or on Twitter @ShellyBradbury.