Last week, the Washington State Patrol and partner law enforcement agencies conducted its 13th Net Nanny Operation— leading to the arrest of 21 suspected child predators.
This is the latest operation spearheaded by the WSP Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF) in their efforts to proactively target those involved in child abuse and child exploitation via the internet.
Net Nanny Operations are run by undercover officers who pose as young children online and communicate with people who want to set up an in-person meeting for sex. Once the suspects’ arrive at the door, they’re greeted by law enforcement officers and taken into custody.
Since the Net Nanny Operations first started in August 2015, WSP detectives have arrested more than 205 people and rescued more than 30 children from sexual exploitation.
This latest operation comes on the heels of the trial of Adam Persell, who was arrested during a Net Nanny operation in Thurston County in September 2016. Persell is a persistent offender who had a prior Rape of a Child in the Second Degree. For his offense, he was given a Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative, which was later revoked. Two weeks ago, the Thurston County Persecutor’s Office convicted Persell of two counts of Attempted Rape of a Child in the First Degree and one count of Attempted Rape of a Child in the Second Degree. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, they have received more than 10 million reports relating to child exploitation in 2017 alone. It’s because of this staggering statistic that MECTF runs “Net Nanny Operations” across the state and will continue to do so to keep our communities safe.
“While the internet is a powerful tool for our nation, criminals using it to target our communities’ necessitates a need for this type of proactive investigations by our law enforcement troopers and partners in order to combat these horrible crimes,” says WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “This operation is protecting our vulnerable children and making communities safer.”
For more information on the latest operation, please see our press release here.