Homeland Security officials said Brian J. Doyle, the fourth-ranking spokesman at the department, was put on "non-pay status" following the charges late Tuesday. Doyle, 55, was expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon in suburban Maryland, where he lives.
"The department is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation into the allegations against Brian Doyle," said Homeland Security press secretary Russ Knocke. "We take these allegations very seriously."
Knocke said Doyle's security clearance, employee badge and facility access permissions have been suspended. The department's inspector general also is investigating the charges, which say Doyle revealed his name and his employer and offered the numbers of his Homeland Security-issued office and cell phones during online conversations.
Investigators say Doyle couldn't have been more brazen, giving out his title, calling from the office, even sending a photo showing his Homeland Security identity card, reports CBS Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.
"It doesn't come any more hard core," said Polk County, Fla., Sheriff Grady Judd. "He graphically explained to a 14-year old girl what he would like to do to her and what he would like her to do to him."
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Doyle joined the federal government as a civil service employee shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, working at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration. He joined the Homeland Security's press operation last summer.
A former colleague said Doyle is divorced.
The charges, by the Polk County, Fla., Sheriff's Department, accuse Doyle of finding the teenager's profile online and allege that he began having sexually explicit conversations with her on the Internet on March 14.
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Authorities said he sent her pornographic movie clips, as well as non-sexual photos of himself, officials said. One of the photos, released by the sheriff's office, shows Doyle in what appears to be DHS headquarters. He is wearing a Homeland Security pin on his lapel and a lanyard that says "TSA."