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McKee resigns amid investigation

Delegate says he has entered treatment

Delegate says he has entered treatment

February 16, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Maryland Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, on Friday announced his resignation from the House of Delegates after information surfaced that deputies, acting on information that child pornography was in the residence, searched his Halfway home on Jan. 31.

During the search, investigators seized two computers, about 30 videotapes and a "significant amount" of printed material, including magazines, Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said Friday afternoon during a press conference.

No charges have been filed.

McKee, in a faxed statement, also said Friday that he had resigned from his position as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, an organization he said he served for 29 years.

At the request of the sheriff's department, agents from the FBI's cyber crimes unit also are working on the case, Mullendore said. The Washington County State's Attorney's office recommended the involvement of the FBI, he said.

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The FBI cyber crimes unit investigates computer-related crimes related to national security, child pornography and other incidents, FBI special agent media coordinator Richard Wolf said Friday morning.

Mullendore, at a press conference Friday afternoon, said the sheriff's department received a telephone call on Jan. 31 from someone who alleged there was child pornography in McKee's home. Investigators searched the home about 10 p.m. that same day, the sheriff said.

The Herald-Mail reported Friday that a judge had signed a search warrant, later executed at McKee's home.

McKee was present when the search warrant signed by Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III was executed, said Mullendore, who knows McKee personally.

Forensics from the investigation will be presented to both the Washington County State's Attorney's office and the United States Attorney's office, Mullendore said.

The sheriff said he had been in contact with McKee and his attorneys, but would not comment on whether McKee had been interviewed by investigators.

Sgt. Chris Howard is the lead investigator, Mullendore said.

In Maryland, the standard for material to be considered child pornography is that which depicts a sexual act, or anything that would cause arousal, the sheriff said.

McKee, who described the situation as "deeply embarrassing," has instructed his counsel to cooperate with law enforcement to resolve matters, he said in the statement.

He also said he has entered treatment.

"My primary focus is to get well and stay well," he said in the statement. "I know this can only happen with the support and prayers of my family and friends and the help of professionals."

A child, who was not a blood relative to McKee, had been living in the home, Mullendore said Friday afternoon. The sheriff was unsure whether the child still was living there. He believed that, in addition to the child, one other person lived at the home, Mullendore said.

In August 2006, The Herald-Mail reported that McKee was the legal guardian of a 16-year-old girl.

Local Big Brothers Big Sisters officials still were in the process of understanding the nature of the sheriff's department's investigation, Elaine Rose, president of the organization's board of directors, said in a statement.

A Big Brothers Big Sisters of America spokesman said Friday that an interim executive director will be appointed.

No one answered the door Friday night at McKee's home.

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