Wednesday, November 7, 2018
The District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility concludes that a sex offense inherently involves moral turpitude and merits disbarment.
News Leader reported on the crime.
A former Department of Defense official ensnared last spring in a covert online sting operation by Staunton police is headed to prison for five years following his convictions Monday on sex charges.
Dan Haendel, 64, of Fairfax, entered Alford pleas to charges of attempted indecent liberties with a minor and use of electronic means to solicit sex from a child. An Alford plea acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction but does not admit guilt.
After hearing the evidence in Staunton Circuit Court, Judge Charles Ricketts III convicted Haendel.
Haendel is a former Army prosecutor and was serving as a senior executive with the Defense Technology Security Administration in Washington with the Department of Defense when arrested, according to previous testimony. Court records stated he earned $167,000 per year.
Anne Reed, an assistant Staunton prosecutor, said Haendel made contact in April with an undercover police officer posing online as a 13-year-old girl in an operation that was targeting online sexual predators.
Using the name "Ned James" and telling the fake teen he was an "older military guy looking for lots of fun," Haendel took the bait and had numerous online conversations with the undercover police officer, Reed said. There were several references to sex, and Haendel also asked about the girl's breast size, her menstruation and suggested they watch pornography together.
Haendel also referenced two movies the girl should watch, "Knocked Up" and "American Beauty," the latter portrays an older man's infatuation with a high school cheerleader.
Haendel made arrangements to meet the fake teen at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton, where he was arrested May 7 by police who were waiting for him. Officers seized two DVDs, alcohol and condoms.
Following his arrest, Reed said Haendel told police, "I made a mistake."
In a previous court filing, it was noted that Haendel has had symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which included an attack on the Pentagon. Haendel was in the Pentagon's fourth ring and was "very close to where the aircraft struck," the filing stated. The Pentagon was hit by an American Airlines passenger plane, one of four hijacked by terrorists that day.
In a letter written to the court, a friend of Haendel's noted he graduated with a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in the 1970s, got a master's degree and a Ph.D., all within five years at the Ivy League school. The letter also noted he held the highest DOD security clearance.
In a plea agreement with the Staunton prosecutor's office, Haendel was sentenced to five years in prison and placed on 10 years of probation.
The board report may be accessed here. (Mike Frisch)