A Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland has been arrested on charges of making a false report of child trafficking.
Ryan Dark White, 54, was jailed at the Harford County Detention Center following his arrest on Friday, the county sheriff said in a statement. White is running under the alias Jon McGreevey in Tuesday’s GOP primary seeking to challenge Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who also faces a primary contest.
The Harford County Sherriff’s Office said White, an employee at an adult bookstore in Edgewood, Maryland, falsely reported in April that a girl aged 10 to 12 was being trafficked by a man at the bookstore and forced to perform sex acts on male customers. The sheriff’s office identified both the male and the young girl, and said investigators found no evidence supporting White’s allegations.
“It is shameful that a candidate for public office would make up such a story and use it to further his own political agenda,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler.
“It is even more appalling that another individual, who is running for a law enforcement position, would embrace such an obviously false narrative in an effort to gain political traction — nothing more,” Gahler said.
The Baltimore Sun reported White had been making joint appearances with Andy Kuhl, a Republican sheriff’s candidate in Baltimore County.
Kuhl’s campaign website warns of a multistate child trafficking operation and says: “Jon McGreevey and I go undercover to expose these sick and heinous crimes against children. We must bring these criminals to Justice.”
White has previously said he started working at the bookstore as part of an undercover operation to unearth drug rings and claimed there were drugs stored in that location.
“They started exploiting children,” White said in a video on Kuhl’s campaign site dated June 9, according to CBS. “There’s a child trafficking ring being run through there as well.”
Gahler decried the resources his office wasted investigating the false report.
“I am beyond grateful this young girl is safe, but extremely disappointed someone would attempt to discredit and disparage the work of the dedicated men and women of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and Child Advocacy Center,” Gahler said. “Fearmongering and antagonism caused wasted time and energy by our personnel, whose time would have been better served protecting the citizens of Harford County, instead of investigating lies.”
White is among 10 candidates running in the Republican Senate primary.
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