Today the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office charged twelve men with charges arising from an online child sex sting operation. The charges include attempted child rape, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, and commercial sexual abuse of a minor
“Protecting the vulnerable, especially children, is a top priority for our office,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “These sting operations protect our community by holding offenders accountable and sending a strong message.”
The Washington State Patrol’s (WSP) Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force (MECTF) arrested 12 men during a multi-day operation that targeted individuals who wanted to sexually exploit children.
Undercover law enforcement officers communicated on the internet through various websites with individuals interested in having sex with children. The operation generated hundreds of responses. Those arrested in the operation traveled to meet with undercover detectives posing as young girls and boys to engage in sexual activity with them.
“Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in this operation, child predators are off the street,” says WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “This operation protects our most vulnerable members of our community from abuse and makes the internet safer for our children.”
This is the 7th operation in the state since 2015. The “Net Nanny” series has netted a total of 84 arrests throughout the state thanks to the WSP Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF). MECTF spearheads the multi-agency operation that includes partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement.
This success of this operation was a collaborative effort involving the following agencies:
• Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force
• Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
• Pierce County Sheriff’s Office
• Tacoma Police Department
• Lakewood Police Department
• Federal Bureau of Investigations Child Exploitation Task Force
• United States Attorney’s Office
• Washington State Attorney General’s Office
• U.S. Marshal’s Office
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.