A former Republican Senate staffer has been arrested and faces child pornography charges in Washington, D.C.
Federal authorities arrested Ruben Verastigui, 27, on Friday and have accused him of receiving and possessing child pornography between April and this month, according to The Washington Post.
Verastigui served as a digital strategist with the Senate Republican Conference as recently as last July, the newspaper reported.
A criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia reportedly indicates Verastigui became a subject in a Homeland Security Department investigation during a larger probe of more than a dozen other people who police believe exchanged messages about trading child pornography.
Verastigui allegedly told another person that pornography involving “babies” was his “absolute favorite," the Post noted, adding that federal prosecutors said he received graphic images of child abuse and at one point asked the person to travel to Washington, D.C. "for the purpose of sexually abusing a minor."
Police reportedly said Verastigui admitted to chatting with people trading child pornography and receiving the explicit images.
“The details of the allegations against Mr. Verastigui are tragic and shocking,” the nonprofit Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, which employed the digital strategist, said in a statement. “We are prepared to fully cooperate with law enforcement requests in this matter to any extent needed.”
The organization said Verastigui is no longer employed by the group.