David Rothenberg of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was arrested earlier this year for allegedly downloading over 1,000 images and videos of child pornography, including a number that featured young children being treated violently. He pleaded guilty to the possession of child pornography charges on Thursday, but he still faces child sexual assault charges. Rothenburg, 47, is being held without bond. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of a private defense attorney.
Rothenburg, a former lawyer, purportedly downloaded the illicit content at the Fort Lauderdale law firm where he worked. He was caught after he allegedly engaged in conversations with an undercover police officer in an internet chat room for “daddaughtersex” in January.
According to the arrest report, Rothenberg chatted with and sent child pornography video links to an officer who was posing as a mother looking for a man to “sexually explore and cultivate” her 13-year-old daughter. During one of their conversations, Rothenberg allegedly admitted to having recently sexually abused a young girl. His admission led police to immediately organize his arrest. Shortly afterward, investigators reportedly found an underage victim who had been molested by Rothenberg.
Court records state that the unnamed victim told law enforcement agents that Rothenberg had sexually assaulted her on dozens of occasions over years beginning when she was 11 years old. The victim hadn’t come forward sooner because Rothenberg told her to keep the incidents a secret and she was fearful of telling anyone, sources say. She also said Rothenberg purportedly bribed her with gifts to hide the “special relationship.”
So far, Rothenberg has pleaded guilty to the child pornography charges, but he now faces state charges for purportedly molesting and sexually abusing an underage girl. It is still unclear if he will contest these new allegations.
The press speculates that Rothenberg is likely to serve a long federal prison term if convicted on child pornography charges during his sentencing later this year. If he’s also convicted on child sexual assault charges, he will likely get life in state prison.