Ex-gossip columnist convicted on sex charge


LAS VEGAS -- Former Us Weekly gossip columnist Timothy McDarrah has been found guilty of charges related to soliciting sex with a minor.

McDarrah, a former reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, was arrested last year in New York after soliciting sex from an undercover federal agent posing as a 13-year-old girl.

He was charged with one count of using a computer and the Internet "to attempt to entice, induce, coerce and persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity," according to an indictment handed up in November 2005. He was convicted Dec. 20 after an eight-day jury trial.

McDarrah, 44, responded in June 2005 to a posting on the craigslist.com Web site offering introductions to the "freshest, youngest" girls in New York, an FBI affidavit said. The gossip writer told an undercover FBI agent, who had posted the advertisement to lure pedophiles, that he would pay $200 for sex with a 13-year-old girl, the affidavit said.

After his arrest, McDarrah was suspended without pay from his post as the editor of Us Weekly's "Hot Stuff" column. From 2002 to 2004, he worked as a gossip columnist at the Las Vegas Sun.

McDarrah faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, according to court documents.