A longtime Spokane chef has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for enticing two girls, ages 13 and 15, into making explicit videos and tried to do the same with a third. The girls live in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Houston.
Jonathan P. Holden, 44, who was one of the original chefs at Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops, was arrested last February in Richland. According to court records, Holden put a post on Craigslist offering a sex act. A detective, who posed as a 13-year-old girl, responded to the post, and Holden was arrested the same day when he arrived at an agreed upon meeting place expecting to find the girl.
Holden pleaded guilty in October to the charges of attempted online enticement of a minor, production of child pornography and attempted production of child pornography. He appeared Thursday before U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza Jr. in Richland.
The 20-year sentence “reflects the seriousness of Holden’s crimes and sends a strong message to would-be child predators,” U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said. “I commend the outstanding partnerships with the law enforcement agencies in this case.”
Newspaper archives show Holden has been a chef in Spokane dating to the 1998 opening of Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops. He’s also worked at Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar and most recently was employed as the Northwest regional culinary manager for the Rich Products Corp.
Holden told investigators he has been cheating on his wife for 17 years and has included observations of his own children in messages with strangers as he sought new sexual encounters.
The federal case started Feb. 6, 2018, when Holden posted to Craigslist offering “no-strings attached sexual encounter,” Assistant U.S. Attorney David Herzog wrote.
Kennewick Police Detective William Dramis responded to Holden’s post and wrote: “wow that sounds fun. age no mater (sic)?”
Holden replied: “Not a problem for me. What time are you looking for and what part of town are you on?” according to court records.
After a lengthy online discussion, Holden and the “girl,” who made it clear she was 13, agreed to meet at an Arby’s restaurant in Richland. Law enforcement responded, but Dramis, again posing as the girl, wrote Holden telling him that she was scared and instead wanted to meet by a nearby boat dock.
Holden “went to the bathroom by the boat dock, and the officers arrested him without incident,” Herzog wrote.
Under questioning, Holden admitted to corresponding with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl. He “also said that earlier that day he had replied to a post by an adult male and had met that person for oral sex,” Herzog wrote.
When authorities searched Holden’s electronic devices, they found he had performed Google searches for “undercover stings richland wa” and “sex stings richland wa.” Those searches led Holden to several articles from the Tri-City Herald about operation NetNanny, in which 26 people were arrested and charged for contacting what they thought were young girls.
“The United States submits that these searches demonstrate just how strong and undeterrable (Holden’s) sexual interest in children is: he went to meet a purported 13-year-old at Arby’s, and then the boat dock, despite his own strong suspicions that he was going to be caught,” Herzog wrote. Holden “is a predator around whom no child will ever truly be safe.”
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