Boxer aide accused of distributing child porn

(11-13) 17:18 PST WASHINGTON --

An aide to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has been charged in federal court in Virginia with receiving and distributing child pornography.

Jeff Rosato, 32, of Arlington, Va., was arrested Friday on a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia. Boxer's office fired him the same day.

Rosato was released from custody pending a future court appearance and was told not to leave the Washington, D.C., area without permission. A judge ordered him not to contact any children or have access to computers and told him to undergo medical or psychiatric treatment.

Rosato's attorney, Patrick Anderson, declined to comment Thursday.

In a statement, Boxer's communications director, Natalie Ravitz, said, "Sen. Boxer has zero tolerance for crimes against children, and the employee was immediately terminated. Our office is cooperating fully with the Department of Justice in this matter."

Rosato started as a legislative assistant in Boxer's personal office in 2005. Last year he became a senior policy adviser and counsel to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which is chaired by Boxer.

He focused on issues including endangered species, water policy and oceans. His congressional salary was $101,020 last year.

He previously worked for Sen. Bob Torricelli, D-N.J., starting as a staff assistant in 2001.

On Friday, FBI agents searched his home and confiscated four laptop computers, a desktop computer and two external hard drives. One of the laptops contained 200 images of child pornography, FBI Special Agent Chad Gallagher wrote in an affidavit.

"Many of the images and videos depict prepubescent boys engaged in sexual acts," the affidavit said.

The investigation began in January when a man sent more than 600 files of graphic images to an undercover detective whom the man believed was a 13-year-old boy, the affidavit said.

Evidence showed that the man, whose name was not released, had also been trading child porn with other Google Hello users, investigators said. Google Hello was a photo sharing and chat application that was discontinued this year.

Authorities subpoenaed Google Inc. and Comcast to identify one of the users as Rosato, the affidavit said.

Chronicle staff writer Zachary Coile contributed to this report. E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page B - 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle

No comments: