Disney Executive Accused Of Seeking Sex With Minor

LOS ANGELES--An executive responsible for Walt Disney Co.'s major online operations has been arrested for investigation of using the Internet to solicit sex with a minor.

Patrick J. Naughton, 34, who oversees Disney's vast Go Network of Web sites, was arrested by FBI agents Thursday night at the Santa Monica Pier, where he had gone in anticipation of a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl, authorities said.

Using the screen name "hotseattle," Naughton, a Seattle resident, had sent lewd messages to a male FBI agent posing as a teenage girl, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Los Angeles. Over a six-month period, Naughton bragged via e-mail that he "ran a company," said he wanted to have sex with his underage correspondent, claimed he had "been with a 16-year-old girl" and posted a picture of his genitals on a Web site, authorities said.

Naughton is an employee of Infoseek Corp., which is being bought by Disney. In January, Naughton was named executive vice president of products, responsible for all of the content and technology used in Disney's Go Network, which encompasses the Go.com portal site as well as Disney.com, ABCNews.com and others. Disney has positioned itself as the leading provider of family-friendly content on the Internet and has a search engine that filters out pornography and other content considered objectionable.

The allegations could threaten the career of a Silicon Valley star. Before his role at Disney, Naughton was part of the team that developed the Java programming language at Sun Microsystems. He was also president and chief technology officer at Web designer Starwave Corp.

Naughton did not enter a plea and was ordered to post a $100,000 bond at a hearing in federal court Friday. His arraignment was set for Oct. 12.

A Disney spokeswoman declined to comment, saying, "We don't have any facts about this and aren't in a position to make any judgment at this time."


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