DHS Deputy Press Secretary Caught in Teen Sex Sting
Brian J. Doyle, the 55-year-old Deputy Press Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, has confessed to attempting to solicit sex from a minor via the Internet. The AP describes Doyle as “the fourth-ranking official in the department’s public affairs office.”
The basic story, as outlined by Tampa’s News 10:
On March 12, 2006, Doyle contacted a 14-year-old girl whose profile was posted on the Internet, and initiated a sexually explicit conversation with her. The girl was actually an undercover Polk County Sheriff’s Computer Crimes detective. Doyle knew that the girl was 14 years old, and he told her who he was and that he worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. During future online chats, Doyle gave the undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl his office phone number and his government-issued cell phone number, so that they could have telephone conversations, in addition to their online chatting. Doyle used the Internet to send hard-core pornographic movie clips to the girl and used the AOL Instant Messenger chat service to have explicit sexual conversations with her. The investigation revealed that the phone numbers given to the detective were in fact Doyle s, and that the AOL account used was registered to Doyle. Doyle also sent photos of himself to the detective, which were not sexually explicit but did serve to further positively identify him.
It was so bad that, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, “It shocked all of us who have worked vice, narcotics, organized crime, homicides.”
CNN reports that “Doyle confessed and has agreed to waive extradition to Florida.”
The good news is that the investigation was handled quickly and that the DHS inspector general’s office was part of it from the get-go. The bad news is, well, the rest of the story.
I am curious, though, about one aspect of the story. Doyle is charged with “7 counts Use of a Computer to Seduce a Child, and 16 counts of Transmission of Harmful Material to a Minor.” It seems rather clear to me that he is innocent of those charges. He certainly intended to do those things and had one hell of a mens rea. But there was in fact no child being seduced nor a minor to whom materials were transmitted but rather a sheriff’s deputy whom, unless Polk County has some unusual hiring practices, has reached the age of majority. Does that matter?
Joe Gandleman observes, “It’s ironic but an official working to improve the Homeland Security Department’s image in the press has been arrested on child porn charges — which isn’t something that will burnish his agency’s image very much.” Not much doubt about that.
Ed Morrissey (who was the much-deserved recepient of the Blogger of the Year award last evening from The Week magazine) observes that, “political appointees such as Doyle are supposed to get a thorough vetting not just for security risks but also for the potential to embarrass the administration they serve.” John Aravosis (coincidentally, also one of the finalists for the award) agrees. While it’scertainly true that one would want to vet officials to preclude placing would-be pedophiles in office, there’s no evidence that this didn’t happen. Until one is caught, there would be no way for investigators to know that one engages in such activity. Of course, one would think a simple IQ test would have precluded tabbing someone so friggin’ stupid as to identify himself by job title while committing reprehensible crimes.
Or maybe they could just install SiteMeters on all the officials.