20 arrested across Western Wash. in child sex sting operation
BREMERTON, Wash. - Twenty men suspected of targeting children have been arrested during a sting operation coordinated by the Washington State Patrol.
The operation, dubbed "Net Nanny," is the latest in a series started in August 2015 that has resulted in a total of 135 arrests and rescued 22 identified child victims throughout Washington state.
"We're here to protect our communities and protect our most vital asset-- and that's our children," said Lt. James Mjor of the State Patrol.
The latest sting identified 18 additional children as potential victims of sex abuse crimes, said Mjor.
During the operation, undercover officers posed as girls or boys as young as 10 years old online and communicated with people who expressed an interest in having sex with children.
The operation generated hundreds of responses. The 20 men arrested ranged in age from 20 to 57, and they traveled from all over Western Washington.
"The problem with this crime-- there's no look," said Mjor. "We had people come in that were corporate, we had people come in that were drug users, we had people come in that were abused themselves."
One of the suspects, Boyd Carter, was the vice president of the Bremerton High School PTA. A former Amazon employee, Seth Curran, took a ferry from Seattle to Kitsap County, and believed he was going to have sex with an 11-year-old girl, according to court documents. Curran showed up with candy and cocaine.
Detectives said another suspect, Anthony Budd, was coaching the girls on how to promote prostitution and trying to recruit them.
Detectives point to Norman Pauley of Kent. Pauley's criminal history includes a conviction for attempted rape. He was expecting to have sex with girls just 11, 6 and 3 years old.
"It was upsetting to understand that this is what's going on in our communities today. This was the tip of the iceberg," said Kitsap County Sheriff Gary Simpson.
At least 60 officers from local, state and federal agencies participated in the operation. Simpson said this is an area of crime everyone needs to start paying attention to.
"We're aware this is going on. It's not something we want to hide. We need to talk about it. We need to talk about it with our families, our children because some of this could be preventable," said Simpson.
In addition to the 20 suspects who were arrested, eight other suspects have been identified as having access to children at risk of being abused. Additional follow-up investigations are currently underway to identify those children and arrange assistance for any abuse they may have been exposed to.
The suspects have been charged with a variety of crimes including child rape, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, promoting sexual abuse of a minor and dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.