Criminal Justice

Attorney's Web chats from law firm IP address lead to child porn charges, child abuse accusations

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Court records say a Florida attorney first came to the attention of the law enforcement community when he chatted online in January with an undercover agent for the Vermont state attorney general’s office on a “daddaughtersex” chat room.

But little more than a month later David Rothenberg, 47, had been arrested on federal child pornography charges. That was due in part to concern that the Fort Lauderdale practitioner had, he said, been abusing a real-life victim, according to feds, although he has not been charged with doing so, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

The child-porn charges are based on material authorities say Rothenberg sent to the undercover agent while trying to persuade her to help him develop a relationship with her purported 13-year-old daughter. Claimed Web conversations took place from an Internet Protocol address for a computer at the Fort Lauderdale law firm for which he worked, a criminal complaint says.

The child-abuse concern was initially based on a message Rothenberg sent to the agent admitting the relationship, according to the complaint. An alleged victim was present at his home when he was arrested over the weekend and a second potential victim was identified from a photograph by his wife, the Sun Sentinel reports. His wife is not accused of any wrongdoing.

Rothenberg appeared in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on Monday and was ordered held until at least Friday, when arguments can be presented. Prosecutors are contending that he is a danger to the community and should be held until trial.

The article doesn’t include any comment from Rothenberg or the public defender’s office, which is representing him.

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