Orie Legislative Aide Charged with Asking 15-Year-Old for Sex
Greenwood, Jill King, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A legislative aide to Sen. Jane Orie, a former prosecutor who has championed state legislation to safeguard children, was fired Friday after the Attorney General's Office charged him with sexually propositioning a child online and suggesting the two dress up as animals and have sex.
Alan David Berlin, 40, who was paid $57,340 a year to do legislative services for Orie, used the Internet screen name "alan_panda_bear" and propositioned the 15-year-old boy several times this month, Attorney General Tom Corbett said.
Berlin of Carlisle was suspended without pay and benefits Thursday, said Russ Faber, the Senate's chief clerk. Shortly after Corbett's announcement yesterday, Orie said Berlin was fired. She would not comment on the criminal case.
"I was shocked and appalled," Orie said in a statement that noted she supports the attorney general's investigations of child abuse and sexual assault cases, including the work of the Child Predator Unit.
Court records did not indicate whether Berlin had an attorney. He was arrested Thursday on charges of unlawful contact with a minor, attempted sexual exploitation of children and solicitation to commit sexual abuse of children, among other offenses.
A district judge in Harrisburg jailed him under $250,000 bond and scheduled a preliminary hearing for June.
In profiles posted on Internet sites used for networking among furries, or people who dress as animals, Berlin identified himself as Alan The Panda with interests in baking, board games, classical music, fine dining, movies, travel, wine -- and diapers. The cartoon panda on his Pounced.org page wears a diaper.
In that profile, Berlin confesses his screen identity is "not the most original name, but it suits me. I'm not a complicated person." He notes he has "a good job where I am well respected," and that he holds a bachelor's degree in sacred music. "I have a deep personal faith in God which I sometimes question," he wrote.
"I am looking for a babyfur to be my mate and companion in a long- term committed relationship," he wrote. "I've been thinking quite a bit lately about where I am in life and what I'm looking for." The site said he was single, seeking a male ages 20 to 25 -- someone who can "enjoy being babied."
Michael Sarfert, chief counsel for Orie, said Berlin did not work on any of the anti-child predator legislation in Orie's office.
Orie, a McCandless Republican, has sponsored several bills to strengthen Megan's Law and Jessica's Law, and is sponsoring legislation this session to implement the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and require use of GPS to track sexually violent predators and repeat offenders. …