The following is a news release from the WA State ICAC Task Force, of which the Seattle Police Department is a partner:
Member agencies of the Washington State Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted a targeted operation in the Vancouver, WA area. This was a proactive investigation to locate and arrest individuals desiring to engage in sexual activities with children or wishing to provide access to children for sexual activities. Washington State consistently ranks as one of the highest in Internet Crimes Against Children and operations like the one recently conducted are designed to locate and arrest individuals whose sole desire is the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
The lead agencies in this operation were the Vancouver Police Department Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit (DECU) and the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF). The agencies were assisted by other county, local and federal law enforcement agencies in a collaborative effort to address this problem that impacts communities across our state, often involving suspects from locations outside the state who travel to various cities in Washington for the sole purpose of sexually abusing children.
The operation launched on February 14, 2017 with the searching of popular online sites that are being used by predators to engage in the criminal activities along with proactive efforts. Within 10 minutes of launching the operation multiple responses were received from individuals clearly stating their interest in having sex with a child. The age ranges of interest among these individuals varied from 14 years of age to as young as 6 years of age.
The first arrest was made on February 15, 2017 and involved an individual who replied how excited he was to have sex with a child and drove to the meeting location to consummate his desires. Ultimately 11 suspects were arrested and booked into the Clark County Jail. The cases will be presented to the Clark County Prosecutors Office who will make the filing determinations. The suspects face potential charges based on the specifics of their case that may include one or more of the following:
RCW 9A.44.073 – Rape of a Child in the First/Second Degree – Attempt
RCW 9.68A.100 – Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor
RCW 9.68A.070 – Possession of Depiction of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct
RCW 9.68A.050 – Dealing in Depictions of Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct
RCW 9.68A.090 – Communication With a Minor for Immoral Purposes
Operations of this type are vitally important to the safety and security or our children and communities. The dedication of the law enforcement agencies involved cannot be understated or undervalued. The support of the leadership in the Vancouver Police Department and the Washington State Patrol made this operation and its success a possibility. In addition to the two lead agencies the WA ICAC TF thanks the following agencies for their support and assistance:
Beaverton, OR PD
Clackamas County SO
Clark County SO
Clark County PAO
King County PAO
WA State AG