Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) fired his chief of staff Robert Decheine Tuesday after his arrest last week on a charge of soliciting sex from a minor.
Forty-eight-year old Decheine, who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, was arrested in Gaithersburg, Maryland last Friday during a police sting.
He was released after posting a $15,000 bond.
The Gaithersburg Police Department said it caught eleven people in a sting targeting people interested in sex with minors.
All eleven suspects were charged with a felony count of sexual solicitation of a minor and face ten years in prison or a fine of $25,000 if convicted.
The Gaithersburg police placed ads on a website while an undercover officer communicated through phone and text messages with “johns” who responded to the ad.
“During the communication, an exchange of services or expectations was made,” a police news release said.
“Congressman Rothman considers this alleged criminal act to be shocking, appalling and indefensible,” Aaron Keyak, a spokesman for Rep. Rothman, said. “As a parent, he understands the vital importance of protecting our children from predators.”
Rothman said his staff will cooperate with investigators.
Decheine ran Rothman’s Washington and New Jersey offices since 2003. He also advised Rothman during his election campaign.
Decheine had previously worked for Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), according to The Record newspaper.
Decheine told the newspaper he had no comment.