Former Las Vegas Reporter — and Magazine Gossip Writer — Convicted on Sex-With-Minors Charge

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By: E&P Staff

Former Las Vegas Sun reporter — and Us Weekly gossip columnist — Timothy McDarrah has been found guilty of charges related to soliciting sex with a minor. He was arrested in New York last year by undercover federal agents.

McDarrah, 44, was charged with trying to seduce an undercover federal agent posing on the Web as a 13-year-old girl. He was convicted after an eight-day jury trial in New York, and faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.

After his arrest, McDarrah was suspended from his post as the editor of Us Weekly’s “Hot Stuff” column. He had worked at the Las Vegas Sun from 2002 to 2004.

McDarrah, 44, had responded in June 2005 to a posting on the craigslist.com Web site offering introductions to the “freshest, youngest” girls in New York, an FBI affidavit said. He then told an undercover FBI agent, who had posted the advertisement, that he would pay $200 for sex with a 13-year-old girl. On his arrest, according to the complaint, he “allegedly admitted that he had gone to the address to meet someone whom he believed to be a thirteen year-old girl with whom who he had engaged in sexual conversations on the Internet and on the telephone.” He had told her he worked at the magazine and had interviewed celebrities.

Among other things, McDarrah had written that he would provide her with “sex lessons.”

During his electronic communications with the FBI agent named “Julie,” McDarrah told her he needed to be careful, and even sent her an newspaper article of a man who was arrested in Pennsylvania for going for an undercover officer posing as a 13-year old in a chatroom. He told “Julie” that he wanted “to see what trouble” he could get into with her, and stated: “Hope this never happens to me!!!”

Evidence at trial also showed that he sent e-mails in response to other advertisements, asking if they were really 18 and stating that younger was fine with him.

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