Correction to This Article
This article incorrectly said that Joshua J. Gessler was released on his own recognizance by Judge Kimberly J. Daniel of Fairfax County juvenile court. Daniel set bond at $10,000 on one of the charges against Gessler and set a personal recognizance bond on five other charges

Washington lawyer accused of paying 15-year-old runaway for sex

Gessler. (Courtesy of Fairfax Police)
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A lawyer in one of Washington's biggest firms was arrested and accused of paying a 15-year-old runaway from Fairfax County to have sex with him while he photographed the encounter.

Joshua J. Gessler, 41, an associate with Arnold & Porter, was arrested Aug. 9 and charged with one count of producing child pornography and five counts of possessing child pornography. Court records show he spent a week in jail before being released on his own recognizance Aug. 16 by Chief Fairfax Juvenile Court Judge Kimberly J. Daniel.

Fairfax police did not disclose Gessler's arrest until asked about it this week by a reporter for WRC (Channel 4), which first reported the story.

Court records show that a Centreville woman contacted police in May and said her 15-year-old daughter was engaged in prostitution. The woman allowed police to enter her daughter's e-mail account and found messages from men negotiating for sex, according to a search warrant affidavit written by Fairfax Detective Jeanette Wagner.

Nine of the e-mails came from the same address and contained numerous photos of the teenage girl engaged in sex, Wagner's affidavit states.

Police subsequently located the girl, and she confirmed having sex with the man, whose name she did not know, Wagner wrote. The girl has been reunited with her family, Fairfax police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said.

Police subpoenaed Yahoo and tracked the e-mail address to Gessler and his home on Nina Court in McLean. Detectives searched his house, but the contents of that search are sealed.

A spokeswoman for Arnold & Porter declined to comment, as did Gessler's attorney, Peter D. Greenspun.

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