Brian Doyle, the deputy press secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has been arrested on multiple charges, accused of trying to seduce a child into online sex and transmitting pornographic material.
Doyle, who was arrested in his Silver Springs, Md., home Tuesday night, thought he was talking to a 14-year-old girl, but was actually communicating with an undercover Polk County, Fla., sheriff's detective, authorities said.
"He graphically explained to a 14-year-old girl what he would like to do to her and what he would like her to do to him," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Doyle, 55, didn't try to disguise his identity, Judd said.
"He started his communication on the computer, clearly identified himself from the very beginning as Brian Doyle from the Department of Homeland Security, where he's a deputy press secretary," Judd said. "Apparently, he was trying to impress this 14-year-old."
He told her his office phone number and the number for his cell phone, which was issued by the government, Judd said.
Doyle spoke on the phone with the "girl" and asked her to buy a webcam. He went home, thinking he was going to see her on the webcam, and was greeted by the police instead.
"He was shocked, to say the least," Judd said.
"The whole goal was to catch him behind the computer so that when we executed the search warrant, we would see the communication from our undercover detectives to him on his computer," he said. "That's exactly what happened."
Doyle cooperated, "admitted he liked young girls," confessed, and now is in jail in Maryland, according to Judd. If Doyle waives extradition, he will be tried in Polk County.
Doyle's arrest came just hours after Tuesday's Capitol Hill hearings on Internet predators, where Justin Berry, now 19, shared his story of being snared into the world of child porn as a lonely, innocent 13-year-old with a webcam.
"We know that computer crimes are the new frontier in criminal activity, and the reality of it is there are thousands, not hundreds, of predators around the world looking to chat with your child online right now."
"Like many young teenagers, I hoped my webcam would improve my social life," Berry said in his testimony. "One afternoon, a few weeks after setting up my webcam, one of these men approached me online, with a proposal. He would pay me $50 if I took off my shirt for a few minutes while sitting in front of my webcam."
"Soon, I was swamped with videos, CDs, and computer equipment, including new webcams -- all free from my new friends," he said. "Looking back today, my thoughts seem foolish, but at 13, I believed these people were my friends. They were kind. They complimented me. They wanted to know about my day."
"The adults you wouldn't let your children talk to in a public park boldly come into home via the Internet and talk to your child while you're there," Judd said. "This is a graphic example of what happens when you don't check the computers of your children."