Former head of D.C. nonprofits arrested in child sex sting

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

The former director of family planning and school counseling advocacy groups in the District of Columbia has been arrested for allegedly arranging to have sex with a 12-year-old girl in an online Internet sting.

Scott Richard Swirling, 61, thought he was discussing plans to meet a District man who was offering to let him have sex with his preteen daughter, authorities said.

It turns out Swirling was dealing with an undercover D.C. police officer.

Swirling, of Gaithersburg, was arrested Tuesday and charged with traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct, a crime which carries a penalty of up to 30 years.

Swirling is the third white-collar worker -- including an FBI analyst -- to be arrested in the sting in less than six weeks.

Swirling served as executive director of the American School Counselor Association and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association before starting his own law firm construction business 10 years ago, according to his website's biography.

According to charging papers:

Swirling answered an online advertisement on Monday that had been placed by a task force made up of D.C. police officers and FBI agents.

The detective wrote that he was a "taboo dad" with a "12-year-old girl, very perverted."

Swirling, using the screen name "squiggles 12353," responded, "Kindered [sic] spirts."

Over several hours, the two men traded emails discussing their interests in underage girls and traded photos of young girls, including that of the detective's purported 12-year-old daughter.

The undercover detective offered to have Swirling meet the girl in Northwest Washington after she got home from school.

Swirling agreed but backed off that evening. "I am sure you can imagine that I am a bit concerned about a sting," he wrote.

He asked the detective to send another picture of his daughter, this time with her holding a piece of paper with his name and that day's date so that he could be sure he was not being set up by police.

The law enforcement officer then emailed a photo of the purported child holding a piece of paper that read, "Hi Scott, January 8, see ya soon."

Swirling then agreed to meet at the arranged location and was arrested when he showed up, court documents said.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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