December 4th, 2007
10:59 AM ET
8 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. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT,

    Read this paragraph:

    "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."

    Why else do you think he was taking "a long lunch break"?

    I don't care if he is Democrat or Republican – child molestation is way out of control in our country – these thugs deserve jail time.

    December 4, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Terry, El Paso, TX

    There is a difference between a Republican Senator who's a toe-tapper or a Republican Congressman who is flirting with underage pages and a Democratic Senator who HIRES a pedophile. If the Senator had known of her employee's hobby, she would never have hired him. We ALL work alongside or for pedophiles. Those of us who work in a personnel office have all hired one. There are apparently a lot of men, no one knows how many, who are aroused by and attracted to children. They are very secretive about their desires and their behavior.

    I once managed a large in-home day care operation and I hired a woman to keep children in her home. The home passed our inspection, fire inspection, and child welfare inspection. The day care provider went through our training procedure. It was a nice clean presentable home. The day care provider had two lovely children who were in school during the day when she was keeping our customers' children. Her husband was accused of fondling two middle school girls and we immediately closed that home. The provider threatened to sue us because she said no one had been convicted of anything. I decided that I'd rather be sued than put a child in an environment that might not be safe, so we stood by our decision. Ultimately the husband pleaded guilty to the offense and was placed on probation on the condition that he enter a treatment program.

    It never occurred to me or to any of my employees that that particular home would be unsafe for children.

    Pedophiles are among our relatives, our colleagues at work, in our churches, in our schools, and in the cars driving alongside us. It is a real problem and the solution is not visible to me at this time.

    Technology will eventually weed them out. Someday, some company will perfect a lie detector based on brain scanning technology and all lies will be easily and certainly detectable. That will turn our world upside down in many ways, but it will enable us to spot with total certainty those who have thoughts and desires that are unacceptable. Scary.

    December 4, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. kathe oakland california

    Well Gosh Darn, another sex offender in the government. I mean is that what our goverment is all about -no values, no morals, lies, cheating. That is all I have seen develop since Bush took office – this is most corrupt government I've ever seen in my 64 years!!!! And Bush, with his lies about weapons of destruction in Iraq, Iran, and poor Saadam – my God what is next? Why are you folks so loyal to a President who has clearly
    L I E D to us all. ALL THE TIME it seems.

    December 4, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    Party affiliation has nothing to with it and she fired the idiot. WELL DONE!

    "Lets see, one democrat and on the other side we have Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Ted Hagard, etc…

    Yeah the Republicans win this battle lol."

    You forgot Barney Frank and his brothel business.

    December 4, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Steve in SC

    To all my dem friends giving these "it wasn't her" excuses, just one question: why didn't she properly vet him before she hired him as her aide? If it is good enough to toast repubs when their screws up why isn't it good enough for the dems? Could it be (say it with me) a DOUBLE STANDARD?

    December 4, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Robert, Shelton, CT

    This isn't big news because it wasn't a politician who got caught people, it was an aide. And hey she fired his ass, so that shows some integrity...

    December 4, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT

    OKAY, IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTION THAT MY EARLIER COMMENT MAY BE MISINTERPRETED!

    I was not supporting any child abuser, I was commenting about the FBI's lack of proof offered in this story.

    The story says he went to meet with someone about a sex act, not to engage in a sex act. Now, as anyone who remembers Bill Clinton, there are many ways this could be interpreted. Let us judge him by his ACTIONS, and not by his supposed INTENTIONS. The article says the Government says he "thought he would meet a witness cooperating with authorities and (thought he would) have sex with the boy". Or is it written confusingly? Should the writer take a refresher course in basic SYNTAX?

    Besides, the Federal Bureau of Information does not have the statue nor the respect that it did when so many of their fine Agents joined, and the organization has suffered all too often through the actions of their own employees. So, let us SEE the Evidence, and not be quick to Judge someone just based on a news story... After all, Sen. Craig should not be judged just because he taps his foot while he hums in men's rooms (which I'm sure many STRAIGHT men do), he should be judged by the wear marks on his knees, and photos of actually engaging in subversive sexual conduct, not just the stories of other questionable men!

    Show us the PROOF, not just the pudding!

    December 4, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. SoSadItsFunny

    There should be a Monty Python skit written about the senate. It's a man's life in the US Senate. Vote all Day and Doodle each other all night!!! Makes me proud to be an American...

    December 4, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. John P NYC

    Seems the Democrats aren't immune to gay pedophiles either. The Dems had nothing to do with his arrest. So there was no opportunity to sweep it under the rug, deny it etc. He was arrested by Federal Agents. He was fired and the Dems are cooperating with authorities. If he worked for the Repubs the out come would have been the same. You don't deny after an arrest with a witness. No one gets brownie points on this one.

    December 4, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    "he thought he would meet a witness cooperating with authorities and have sex with the boy,"

    I don't see anywhere in this story that he INTENDED to have sex with a 13 year old. It only says he went to interview a witness.

    Posted By KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT

    Can you see it now, you twit.

    We've had enough of these ridiculous entrapment schemes. This "law enforcement" technique must stop.

    Posted By Jesse Berry : December 4, 2007 12:46 pm

    How do you know it was entrapment? Besides that, if you're not doing anything wrong, you can't get 'entrapped', idiot.

    December 4, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Jay, greenbelt, md

    What's going with the adults wanting to "sock it" to kids all of a sudden?

    December 4, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Pete, Grand Rapids, MI

    The comments here from Republicans and Democrats are hilarious. Are these people serious - arguing which of their parties has the fewest sex offenders?

    I'm glad to be a Libertarian.

    December 4, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Doug, New Jersey

    Gee only an aide, so my liberal democrat friends, since it was only an aide and not an actual politician like Jerry Studds, will you still be holding a parade for this person and celebrating their act? Since it was just an aide, does the politican get elected 6 times for the actions of the aide or do they have to do it themselves? You know how you liberal democrats rewarded Studds for his activities with an underage boy?

    See, republicans are forced to resign when they molest kids, where as liberal democrats get re-elected for doing it, that is the difference between republicans and democrats. Sorry for the facts libs, I know that telling facts is what a liberal democrat calls a hate crime.

    December 4, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Jonah, Boston MA

    In response to the following comment:

    "Hey all you liberals out there, where's the outrage? If this had happened to a Republican's aide you would all be screaming at the top of your lungs."
    -Brad from Texas

    Of course it's an outrage that this guy was trying to solicit sex from a minor, but at least the Senator's office immediately fired him. That's the Democrat way of dealing with problems– honestly and directly.

    Maybe you don't get what we Liberals find so satisfying about the Republican sex scandals. These Republicans invariably have records of hateful, homophobic rhetoric and legislation, and they have spent their entire careers touting their commitment to the purity of the Christian heterosexual lifestyle. Then , one by one, it turns out the most outspoken, vile hatemongers are either gay or soliticiting sex from adolescent boys. It's almost too perfect. It's great because it simulataneously affirms so many Liberal tenets: the hypocrisy of Republicans, the dishonesty of Republicans, the emptiness of Republican beliefs, and the value-corrupting power of religion. Furthermore, it supports the idea that the most outspoken homophobes tend to be overcompensating for the fact that they harbor closeted homoerotic thoughts.

    And that, Brad, is why Liberals like myself get worked up when there is a Republican sex scandal.

    December 4, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. Peter

    Just to set the record straight:

    Pedophilia and homosexuality are NOT are exclusive of one another. Straight men and women are known to engage in this perversion, and is NOT an indicator of sexual orientation.

    Furthermore, one is a sickness; the other is a not.

    December 4, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Peter

    my error: pedophilia and homosexuality are exclusive entities...of course. in fact, some current researchers suggest that pedophilia is a kind of sexual orientation in and of itself.

    December 4, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Brian Tampa, FL

    Hsu was also indited today. A story CNN is not covering at all. Not a good day from Dems, it is just a culture of corruption they have created. Those who live in glass houses my Dim witted friends.

    December 4, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Les WA

    Good on Senator Cantwell for firing his aide right away.

    Pedophilels is hard to catch, they're from all walks of life. When I was 7 years old, I saw my playmate touched inappropriately by the father of our playmate. Me and my playmates also caught him exposing his self to us, I didn't give it much thought then, I haven't heard of the word "pedophilia". I wonder what he had done to my playmate, he always take her somewhere, he was a teacher, his wife was a teacher too. I think his wife knew what he was doing, I told her what he was exposing his self to us. He looks very decent, soft spoken, but I always stay away from him, he scare the bejesus out of me! yikessssssss

    Children can feel danger.

    December 4, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Just so I understand, this man went to meet what he thought would be a 13 year old boy with the intention of having sex with him.

    Senator Craig was supposedly soliciting another grown man. Surprise! Being gay and having sex with another adult isn't a crime.

    Child abuse and molestation is a crime however, which is what this staff member is accused of.

    People were up in arms about Mark Foley soliciting sex from male aids but they just write this staff member off because...why exactly again? Oh yeah, because he's a democrat and they're pro-gay rights.

    I don't care if the democrats are pro-gay rights. Are democrats also pro-child abuse? You people who are giving this guy a pass simply because he's democrat and gay rights are cool are appalling. Gay has nothing to do with this. It's called child abuse.

    December 4, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. John L., Los Angeles, CA

    I'm a Republican and think that Sen. Cantwell did what she had to do, and should have done – no spin or cover-up. Let's leave it at that. I didn't care about Clinton's affair and don't care about this or Senator Craig's sexual escapades.

    I do care about our out of control spending (Iraq) and the sub-prime bailout. What happened to my party?

    And immigration???? Seriously??? That's the "hot button" topic these days?

    December 4, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. Joe, Boston, MA

    To Steve in SC....

    How do you know she didn't properly vet him? Maybe he has a clean record.

    Honestly, it's disgusting but should this really be newsworthy outside of the state it happened? I don't think so. He wasn't an elected Senator or Congressman so I don't see the need for me in Boston to know what a staffer did in Washington.

    Could you imagine how many more staffers on both democrat and republican parties try to do this disgusting stuff? Is CNN and other cable news networks going to cover each and every staffers creapy sex lives?

    December 4, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Pete, Austin TX

    I guess nobody here is troubled by the 'authorities' actively trying to entrap people?

    December 4, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Adam in Ohio


    To all my dem friends giving these "it wasn't her" excuses, just one question: why didn't she properly vet him before she hired him as her aide? If it is good enough to toast repubs when their screws up why isn't it good enough for the dems? Could it be (say it with me) a DOUBLE STANDARD?
    Posted By Steve in SC : December 4, 2007 1:51 pm

    Umm, what? Should she have hooked him up to a machine that can predict the future? How exactly can you "properly vet" somebody to make sure you don't hire a person who will never commit a crime?

    December 4, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Michael, Oakland, CA

    This isn't a Republican Democrat issue, it is a judicial rights topic. The man was fired from his job and he hasn't even gone to trial yet, will he be reinstated with back pay if he is found not guilty? I assume not. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? It also sounds like he was lured, he was contacted he did not contact.

    December 4, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Doug, New Jersey

    "Senator Craig was supposedly soliciting another grown man. Surprise! Being gay and having sex with another adult isn't a crime.

    Child abuse and molestation is a crime however, which is what this staff member is accused of."

    Sorry but the liberal Democrats say that you are wrong.

    Liberal Democrats say that if you are a democrat it is a-ok to have sex with underage children, it is your right. This is why they all supported Jerry Studds and re-elected him after his activities with an under age boy were discovered.

    Now if you are not a liberal Democrat then it is a crime to have sex with an adult who is the same gender as you. Since you are a republican you must be subjected to the worst form of homophobia and hate on the planet. You must be called all kinds of hateful names since that, as libeals would tell you, is the tolerant thing to do.

    See, this is the party of tolerance, fairness and equality. That's also why Clinton saying Iraq has WMDs was the truth, and Bush saying the same thing was a lie.

    Remember, all of what is posted here is backed up by facts and you are supporting it when you decide to cast a vote for a Democrat. Are you the type of person who is a liberal Democrat, or do your personal values and decency conflict with liberalism? Think about it next November.

    December 4, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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