LAKELAND -- A deputy press secretary with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was arrested Tuesday night and charged with trying to "seduce'' a 14-year-old Polk County girl with graphic talk over the Internet.
The `"girl'' with whom Brian J. Doyle, 55, was corresponding was actually an undercover Polk County Sheriff's detective, the Sheriff's Office reported.
Doyle was arrested at his Silver Spring, Md., home at about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday on a total of 23 Polk County charges of using his computer to seduce a child and transmitting harmful materials to a minor, according to a Sheriff's Office release.
Doyle was chatting with the fictional girl online when police officers and secret service agents knocked on his door to arrest him, said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd during a late Tuesday night news conference.
They seized his home computer and other materials, Judd said.
Undercover detectives knew Doyle would be home Tuesday night because the "girl'' promised she would send nude photos of herself through a Web cam, Judd said.
She said, "I have access to a Web cam, and Mom's gone tonight,''' Judd said.
Detectives interviewed Doyle Tuesday night, and he acknowledged soliciting the teenager, Judd said.
He was booked into Montgomery County Jail in Maryland and will be extradited to Polk County, possibly within the week, Judd said.
Doyle works in the Homeland Security Department's Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., records show.
He is often quoted in national news stories concerning the mammoth public agency, which includes the Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Customs, FEMA and numerous other departments. It was created in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Doyle is divorced with children, Judd said.
On March 12, Doyle contacted a 14-year-old girl whose profile was posted on an AOL Web site, according to the Sheriff's Office release.
Initially, detectives thought Doyle was posing as someone working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But they soon learned otherwise when he sent a picture to the girl over the Internet wearing an official ``DHS tag'', Judd said.
Judd said the character detectives created told Doyle she was recovering from leukemia.
"He sent her his condolences,'' Judd said.
Doyle sent the "girl'' a box of chocolates and mentioned that he knew someone in the Tampa Bay area, Judd said.
Then the conversations got vulgar and the gestures got bolder, Judd said.
Doyle sent the "girl'' "hard core'' pornographic images through the Internet and "asked if she would engage in those kind of acts with him,'' Judd said.
Detectives are investigating whether Doyle has behaved similarly online before with actual girls.
Doyle could face federal charges for the Polk case, Judd said.
Russ Knocke, press secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, would give only a brief statement:
``We take the allegations very seriously and we will cooperate with the ongoing investigation,'' he said.
Judd said DHS and State Attorney Jerry Hill's Office contributed to the investigation.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Doyle's actions were "vile and inexcusable.''
"We will go after child predators, no matter where they live, to protect our innocent children,'' Judd said in a released statement. "This investigation shows that the long arm of the law can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime, who tries to harm our youth.''
Judd also mused about the potential threat to national security of Doyle's behavior, particularly if the fictional girl had been a terrorist.
Doyle, who is the fourth-ranking official in the department's public affairs office, was expected to be placed on administrative leave Wednesday morning.
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