- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Metropolitan Police yesterday charged the director of human resources at The Washington Times with one count of attempting to entice a minor on the Internet.

Randall Casseday, 53, was arrested at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday in the 1300 block of Brentwood Road Northeast, where police said he had arranged to meet who he thought was a 13-year-old girl. He had actually exchanged Internet messages and photographs with a male police officer posing as a girl.

“When he went there, he was met by police,” police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said.

As set out in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court yesterday, Mr. Casseday, whose home address was listed in the unit block of Manner House Drive in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., initiated a conversation with the undercover officer in an online chat room.

The officer identified himself as a 13-year-old girl in the District, and Mr. Casseday identified himself as a 53-year-old man who usually lives in New York but was spending time in the District, the affidavit states.

The conversation included discussion of an explicit sexual nature.

In the course of the conversation, Mr. Casseday sent via e-mail several graphic photographs of himself, and the police officer sent him a photograph described in the complaint as of “a young child in a bathing suit.” The two agreed to meet at 9:30 p.m.

Brian Bauman, a spokesman for The Washington Times, said Mr. Casseday was terminated yesterday.

“The Washington Times strictly prohibits any illegal activities on our property,” Mr. Bauman said. “This is a law-enforcement matter and we are cooperating with officials to the best of our abilities and it would be inappropriate to comment any further since it is in the process of investigation.”

It is not clear from the affidavit whether the online conversation took place on company property or on a company-owned computer.

Lt. Patricia Williams, head of the police department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, declined to discuss the specifics of the case because it is still under investigation.

Lt. Williams said the four-officer task force has been conducting active undercover investigations since May. Police have made nine arrests of people who authorities said went online and arranged to meet minors for the purpose of engaging in sexual relations.

She said that in all cases, the people charged with the offenses have initiated the conversations and requested the meetings.

“We will not encourage, we will not start or initiate a sex conversation,” Lt. Williams said.

Federal law prohibits using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole and a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison without parole.

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