Alex Constantine - January 14, 2010
Ex-UN weapons inspector in child-sex sting
Ritter had said earlier charges were meant to silence criticism of Iraq war
Mike Groll / AP via MSNBC
PHILADELPHIA - A longtime U.N. weapons inspector who blamed a 2001 sex-sting arrest on his criticism of the Iraq war has again been charged in an online child-sex case, and this time he was caught on camera.
Scott Ritter, 48, of Delmar, New York, engaged in a sexually graphic online chat with an undercover police officer posing as a 15-year-old girl nearly a year ago, police in northeastern Pennsylvania said. He then turned on a webcam and masturbated on camera, they charged.
Monroe County authorities traced the exchange to Ritter through a cell phone number he provided, and confirmed the match through photographs, according to a police affidavit. Charges were filed in November and the Pocono Record revealed Ritter's involvement on Thursday.
Ritter, an ex-Marine, declined to comment to reporters gathered Thursday at his home near Albany, New York.
"I told you guys I'm not going to say anything, so please just go away," he said after answering the door to the home, adorned with a welcome mat that reads "U.S. Marine Corps, The Ritters."
Ritter, born William Scott Ritter Jr., served as a UN weapons inspector from 1991 to 1998 before resigning. He soon became a harsh critic of the administration of President George H.W. Bush administration's push toward war with Iraq.
In 2003, he acknowledged in TV news appearances that he had faced online child-sex charges in 2001 in New York, but said they were designed to silence his war criticism. The charges were dismissed.
Ritter waived a Dec. 17 preliminary hearing and is free on $25,000 bail. He is due in court Feb. 23 for a status hearing, and would face trial March 9 barring any requests for continuance.
Defense lawyer Todd Henry did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.
According to published interviews, Ritter has twin daughters who are about 16. He met his second wife, Marina, a translator, while assigned as a counterintelligence officer in the former Soviet Union. They moved to upstate New York about 10 years ago.