Published January 18, 2010
Former chief United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter was arrested in a Pennsylvania sex sting in November on a litany of charges involving a lewd Internet conversation with a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl.
Ritter, 48, allegedly masturbated in front of a Web camera while he was engaged in conversation in an Internet chat room with an undercover cop posing as the teenage girl. He declined to discuss the charges Thursday when reporters visited his New York residence.
"I said there would be no comment," Ritter said, according to the Albany Times Union. "Why don't you guys just go away?"
The chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-98 and harsh critic of the war in Iraq, Ritter is accused of contacting the "girl" while using the handle "delmarm4fun" last February.
Ritter, of Delmar, N.Y., allegedly told the girl, "Emily," that he was a 44-year-old man from Albany, N.Y., according to an affidavit of probable cause.
The undercover officer then told Ritter he was a 15-year-old girl from the Poconos region of Pennsylvania, at which point Ritter asked for a picture in addition to one "Emily" had posted on her account, according to the affidavit prepared by Barrett Township Police Det. Ryan Venneman.
Ritter then sent a link to his Web camera and began to masturbate while it was focused on his genitals, according to the affidavit. The former U.N. official then allegedly provided his cell phone number.
"He then continued to masturbate on web cam and he again asked how old I was," the affidavit continued. "He was advised again that I was 15 years old. He said he didn't realize that I was 15 years old and turned off his web camera. He stated that he didn't want to get in trouble."
Ritter then allegedly told the "girl" that he fantasized about having sex with her, to which the officer replied, "guess u turned it off [no problem]."
Ritter then asked the girl if she "want[ed] to see it finish" before reactivating his Web camera and ejaculating, the affidavit read.
The conversation with the girl allegedly took place on Feb. 7, 2009, but the police investigation investigation lasted until November. Ritter was arrested on Nov. 9 and charged with unlawful contact with a minor, criminal use of a communications facility, corruption of minors, indecent exposure, possessing instruments of crime, criminal attempt and criminal solicitation.
Ritter appeared for his preliminary hearing on Dec. 17 and waived the felony charge of unlawful contact with a minor. He remains free on $25,000 bail.
Ritter's attorney, Todd Henry, of Philadelphia, did not return several calls seeking comment Thursday.
Ritter — born William Scott Ritter Jr. — is a former Marine who reportedly met his second wife, Marina, while working as a counterintelligence officer in the former Soviet Union.
"I came to Delmar ... to put roots down, to raise a family and live a normal middle-class American life," Ritter told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2002.
A press conference on the matter to be held by the Barrett Township Police Department is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday. Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski will prosecute the case.
A press release issued in November by the Barrett Township police noted that the incident wasn't the first time Ritter had been arrested on similar charges, but that he had not been formally charged.
Ritter was reportedly charged in a June 2001 sex sting in New York, but the case was dismissed. He had been charged with attempted child endangerment after arranging to meet a person he thought was a 16-year-old girl at a fast-food restaurant. The girl was actually an undercover police officer.
The New York Post reported Ritter was caught in a similar case in April 2001 involving a 14-year-old girl, but he was never charged.