Brain Doyle, 55, the deputy press secretary for DHS, will face 23 charges in Polk County related to the use of a computer to seduce a minor and for sending pornographic material via the Internet to a minor.
Doyle, who was arrested in his Maryland home, became the target of the Polk County Sheriff’s investigation when he allegedly contacted an undercover officer who was posing as a minor.
“We will go after child predators, no matter where they live,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “This investigation shows that the long arm of the law can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime, who tries to harm our youth. His [Doyle’s] conduct is vile and inexcusable.”
According to a Sheriff’s statement, Doyle found the “girl’s” profile online and began a sexually explicit conversation with her on March 12.
During subsequent online chats, officers allege that Doyle sent pornographic movie clips to the girl as well as nonsexual photos of himself. One of the photos released by the sheriff’s office appears to show Doyle at DHS headquarters wearing a security pin on his lapel and a lanyard that says “TSA.”
The Transportation Security Administration is part of DHS.
Doyle provided the girl with his name, government-issued cell phone and on several occasions instructed her to perform sexual acts while thinking of him, the sheriff’s office said.
During online chats via AOL Instant Messenger, Doyle asked the girl to purchase a webcam so that he could see her perform the requested acts.
At the time of his arrest, Doyle was online with the officer who had been posing as the girl.
“He said he would get on the computer when he got home from work so we knew he would be on,” Carrie Rodgers, sheriff’s spokeswoman, said. “When [police] went to his door, he was in the middle of a conversation with the girl.”
Doyle faces 23 total felony charges. Upon extradition to Florida, Doyle will answer to seven counts of using a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Doyle is expected to be placed on administrative leave on Wednesday.
"We take these allegations very seriously, and we will cooperate fully with this ongoing investigation," Russ Knocke, DHS press secretary, said.
While child predators are all too common, Doyle’s arrest highlights a problem that reaches into every corner of society.
“Online child predators can be anyone,” Joan Irvine, executive director of The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, said. “This man works for an agency whose job is to protect people. If he committed these crimes, then he certainly knew his actions were harmful and illegal. This shows what a dangerous addiction pedophilia is, and how careful parents must be to make sure their children have a safe online experience.”