April 20, 2007 / 11:25 PM / 12 years ago

Former magazine editor sentenced for U.S. sex crime

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former editor at the entertainment magazine Us Weekly was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison for attempting to seduce an undercover FBI agent posing as a minor on the Internet.

Timothy McDarrah, 43, who was convicted in December in U.S. District Court in New York, must register as a sex offender after his release, Judge Paul Crotty said.

“Why is it that I only seem to know where the line is when I cross it?” McDarrah said in court.

He acknowledged battling a heroin addiction more than a decade ago while working for the New York Post newspaper’s Page Six gossip page.

In 2005 McDarrah responded to an ad on an Internet Web site that offered the “freshest, youngest” girls available in New York. The ad had been posted by the FBI to catch pedophiles.

McDarrah replied that he was interested in a “white 14-year-old girl with a pony tail” and said he was willing to pay for sex, according to prosecutors.

McDarrah was put in contact with “Julie,” an agent posing as a 13-year-old girl, and over 2-1/2 months, they communicated via the Internet and spoke by telephone.

At one point, McDarrah sent a newspaper article about a man arrested after he pursued an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old in a chatroom.

“Hope this never happens to me!!!” he wrote, according to prosecutors.

McDarrah was arrested in September, close to where he and the undercover agent had agreed to meet.

He was sentenced to 72 months in prison for using a computer and the Internet to attempt to entice, induce, coerce and persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity.

Crotty said the sentence was severe because it involved the Internet, which “encourages this kind of behavior.”

Us Weekly is published by Wenner Media.

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