Online executive pleads innocent to using Internet to solicit teen sex

LOS ANGELES - A former top executive of Infoseek has pleaded innocent to charges of using the Internet to plan a sexual encounter with a teenager.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey W. Johnson set Nov. 30 for trial of Patrick J. Naughton, an executive vice president of Infoseek who directed the Walt Disney Co.'s Go Network of Internet.

Naughton was charged with interstate travel with the intent of having sex with a minor, use of a facility of interstate commerce (the Internet) to attempt to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and possession of child pornography. He was freed on $100,000 bond.

Naughton, 34, was arrested in an FBI sting Sept. 19 when he arrived at the Santa Monica Pier for an expected tryst, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Naughton allegedly used the screen name ''hotseattle'' to send lewd messages to an FBI agent posing as a 13-year-old girl in an Internet chat room.

David B. Marks, a Los Angeles defense lawyer, declined comment on the allegations against Naughton.

''Obviously we intend to go to trial and we are very confident about our position in this case,'' Marks said Tuesday.

If convicted on all counts, Naughton faces a maximum of 35 years in federal prison. He was fired from Infoseek immediately after his arrest.

Disney acquired a stake in Infoseek last year, working to create the Go Network, which competes with other portal sites to offer Web searches, entertainment and personalized news.

Naughton previously was part of the team that developed the Java programming language at Sun Microsystems Inc., and was president at Starwave Corp., a Web design company that folded into Infoseek.


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