By Ben Pershing
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 14, 2008; A05
A senior aide to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was fired from his post last week after he was charged with distributing and receiving child pornography.
Jeffrey P. Rosato, an aide to Boxer and a senior policy adviser on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, was arrested last Friday, the same day he was fired from Boxer’s office, and charged with one count each of receipt and distribution of child pornography. He appeared in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Wednesday and was released on his own recognizance, but he is forbidden to have access to children or computers.
According to an FBI affidavit, an unnamed person “distributed more than 600 files containing graphic images and movies of child pornography to an undercover detective that [the person] believed was a 13-year-old boy” over the course of more than 15 online chats during a three-week period in January. In that person’s computer, the FBI found information suggesting the person had exchanged pornography with Rosato.
Investigators also found pornographic photos and movies of children on Rosato’s laptop computer during a Nov. 4 search of his Alexandria home, according to the affidavit. “Many of the images and videos depict prepubescent boys engaged in sexual acts,” it said.
Rosato’s attorney, Patrick N. Anderson of Alexandria, did not return a call seeking comment.
Natalie Ravitz, a spokeswoman for Boxer’s personal office, said: “On Friday, the Justice Department informed our office of criminal charges made against a Senate employee. Senator Boxer has zero tolerance for crimes against children, and the employee was immediately terminated.”
Rosato had worked for Boxer since 2005, according to Senate payroll records on the LegiStorm Web site, and had drawn a paycheck from the environment panel since 2007. Boxer is chairwoman of the Environment Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.
Before joining Boxer’s staff, Rosato worked as an aide to then-Sen. Robert G. Torricelli (D-N.J.).
The FBI’s investigation of Rosato and subsequent forensic analysis of his computer found that he had been using Google Hello, a photo-sharing service discontinued by the Internet giant earlier this year, allegedly to exchange pornographic images. Investigators were able to link Rosato to his online username by demanding records from Google and Comcast.
Last month, a former Senate aide, James Michael McHaney, was sentenced to three years in prison on a federal charge of possession of child pornography. McHaney, 28, was arrested last year in a sting and fired from his job in the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).