Thirteen people have been arrested in Spokane County in a major sting operation targeting would-be child rapists.
Nine of the suspects appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Monday afternoon and four had hearings last week. Most responded to a Craigslist ad posted by detectives from the Missing and Exploited Children Task Force, a division of the Washington State Patrol. Some posted their own ads seeking sex with children.
Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez posted the ad posing as a mother of three. He claimed to have 6- and 11-year-old daughters and a 12-year-old son and said they would participate in sex acts in exchange for gifts.
“We base our personas on people we have actually come into contact with,” Rodriguez said. “There’s really only one way to say it: They’re raping children.”
More than 1,000 people responded to the ad in about 20 days, he said. When a respondent seemed intent on committing a crime, detectives continued conversations through emails, texts and phone calls. Female detectives played the voices of a mother and daughter and arranged meetings with the suspects.
“I’ve got more people trying to meet with me right now,” Rodriguez said. “If I sit here and respond to every one, I could average two arrests a day. The concerning thing is that everywhere that we’ve gone, that’s been consistent. Two a day”/Chad Sokol, SR. More here (subscription required).