December 4th, 2007
10:59 AM ET
11 years ago

Senate aide arrested on child sex charges

A former aide to Sen. Cantwell has been arrested on child sex charges.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A staff member for Sen. Maria Cantwell has been arrested on charges he tried to arrange to have sex with a 13-year-old boy.

James Michael McHaney, 28, was arrested by federal agents Friday in the lobby of a building where they say he thought he would meet a witness cooperating with authorities and have sex with the boy, according to court documents.

A spokesman for Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, said her office was informed of the arrest Friday afternoon and that McHaney was immediately fired.

"Our office has and will continue to fully cooperate with the ongoing federal criminal investigation," said Michael Meehan, Cantwell's chief of staff. "Sen. Cantwell has zero tolerance for crimes against children."

According to documents filed Nov. 30 in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., the witness, while being supervised by authorities, sent an online message to McHaney Friday asking if he was interested in having sex with a 13-year-old boy. McHaney said he could take a long lunch break and went to the building where he was arrested and charged with attempted child exploitation, authorities said.

Channing Phillips, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington D.C., said McHaney appeared before a magistrate judge Monday and was ordered held without bond until a preliminary court hearing on Wednesday.


Filed under: Senate
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. HISTORY REPEATS, NY

    Daniel, WA

    anyone that would group gays, lesbians and pedophiles into the same category should really get out of the house a little more

    December 4, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Duane, San Diego CA

    Child molestation has been happening as long as people have been alive. It's a serious problem, and it's prevelant. There are offenders from all other walks of life, so it's resonable to assume that there are offenders in politics – regardless of the political party.

    The constant calling out of political parties by supporters of the other political party every time something like this happens is silly. Neither party has a monopoly on moral values, integrity, or common sense. You all sound like a bunch of whiney kids on a playground.

    Go finish your classwork, eat those Snackpacks that your Mothers packed for you, take your afternoon naps, and stop with the sniping already. You are ALL annoying us normal people.

    December 4, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Hey JB from Oakland actually engaging in sex in public, regardless of where that takes place is a crime. Asking another man for sex is not a crime.

    If soliciting sex in a bathroom is a crime then it is also a crime to solicit sex in a bar or any other public environment. Nearly every adult male would be in jail if that were the case.

    Everyone was upset with Craig not because he asked another man for sex. They were upset because Craig is staunchly anti-gay rights and this makes him a hypocrite. Being a hypocrite is not a crime, however.

    As for as this staff member is concerned, he is being accused of attempted solicitation of sex from a minor. That is a crime.

    What gets me most is not the way the Senator handled this or the authorities. It is the public opinion that is mind boggling. Everyone wanted to run Craig out of office on a rail. Why? Not because he committed a crime but because he is a hypocrite. This staff member comes along and people are asking, "is this really news?" Well heck yeah it's news. It's one less child molestor behind bars (if he is actually guilty). I don't care where he's from or who he works for. That's not the point. It is that he is accused of child abuse. If that isn't a public priority then this society has more problems than the election.

    December 4, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. r sisk, nevadar

    Let's all be happy this loser was arrested on ATTEMPTED child exploitation and did not follow through with his pedophile behavior. Let us also be grateful his political career has just ended and this happened before he became an elected official.

    December 4, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. R. Manez, Milwaukee, WI

    What is odd about this is that the "witness" appears to be playing the role of procurer, not of the 13 year-old.

    December 4, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Denise, Philadelphia, PA

    For those of you who suggest this is a case of entrapment and that this man's decision to meet the so-called 13 year old may not be as it seems....do realize that the FBI does not just send out random e-mails soliciting people in these cases (when's the last time you received an e-mail asking you to have sex with a minor?). This guy obviously had some sort of history that already had the Feds on his trail – whether it be viewing child porn on the internet, participating in suspicious chats online, etc. Please think before making such silly statements!

    December 4, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Denise, Philadelphia, PA

    For those of you who suggest this is a case of entrapment and that this man's decision to meet the so-called 13 year old may not be as it seems....do realize that the FBI does not just send out random e-mails soliciting people in these cases (when's the last time you received an e-mail asking you to have sex with a minor?). This guy obviously had some sort of history that already had the Feds on his trail – whether it be viewing child porn on the internet, participating in suspicious chats online, etc. Please think before making such silly statements!

    December 4, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Steven in Charleston

    To David in Arizona and Brian in Florida:

    NO ONE is suggesting that what the staffer did is ok, let alone ok because of his party affiliation, so please stop saying that we are.

    What we ARE saying is that the Democratic Senator in question handled this terrible situation in a much more honorable and forthright manner than we have come to expect from her Republican brethren, and for that she should be commended.

    December 4, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. LeftyLoosey

    Let's not condem him just because of his sexual orientation..

    December 4, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Don White, Brooklyn, OH

    Lets be clear, it was the Senate Aid and not the Senator involved in this sex scandal. That is a big difference between Larry Craig (R) and the (D) senator.

    December 4, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Jenny, Grand Rapids, MI

    I'm a democrat, and this is just one more example of how messed up congressional staffers are, in my not so humble opinion. I call my senator's office about a crucial issue. The fact that the economic policies my dem senator turns a blind eye to that are helping to allow Bush and his corporate friends to profit off the imposition of massive poverty, in my state and across the country.. the staffer puts the phone down and starts up a conversation with another staffer knowing full well I can hear her ignoring my comments. I call another senator's office this fall about his voting on legislation that increases poverty and his staffer (this was also a dem senator, John Kerry) ridicules my concern. I called Kerry's office a few month's prior to ask why he voted to give Bill Gates what he wanted, more visas for foreign tech workers, especially given the fact he knows better, and why does he own more stock in Microsoft than any other member of congress (just under 3 million dollars worth), so he's actually profiting by his vote, and the same staffer yelled at me, telling me I didn't have the right to question him on this.

    I contact Senator Durbin's office after watching him whine on CNN about how he's powerless to take on the corporations that are importing toxic food and other products from China, and his staffer is rude.

    What I see is the fact that members of congress are hiring spoiled, affluent brats, and others who are looking to get hired by congress for their own petty interests and to promote single issues rather than average Americans who actually are connected to the realities most of us have to deal with, and would take the job seriously and respect our rights.

    Cantwell's aide isn't a rarity, there are plenty like him, looking to screw someone over for the hell of it.

    December 4, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. aj huntington ny

    It's a Democrat – cnn won't cover the story as obsessively as they would if it were a Republican

    December 4, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. history repeats

    Jenny, Grand Rapids, MI

    WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!??!?!

    December 4, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  14. Resident of MA

    Since the topic about homosexuality is floating around on this thread I'd like to comment. I live in MA so this subject, as you know, has been and still is frequently debated here. I've talked to many many people on both sides regarding this issue and just cannot agree with the fact that the two men or two women relationship is of normal behavior. I know we live in the 21st century and all that. But gays that I talked to could not admit that their conscious was clean after their first act ever – they just could not say that "yeah, my conscious was clean". I think conscious becomes the key here. Same thing happens in case of child molestation or when one commits adultery. Yeah, of course, if you repeat something over and over again your conscious just stops talking – and then you are on your own free to do anything you desire. Conscious is what makes me suspicious that homosexuality is not immoral.

    December 5, 2007 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  15. Alice, Seattle, WA

    anyone that would group gays, lesbians and pedophiles into the same category should really get out of the house a little more

    Posted By HISTORY REPEATS

    HISTORY REPEATS, you should take your own advice and get out of the house.

    December 6, 2007 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
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