Seven Washington men were arrested over the course of several days in Stevens County on child sex charges as part of an operation involving several law enforcement agencies.
The Stevens County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will review the cases to determine which criminal charges should be filed. The primary crimes investigated are attempted child rape, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, sexual exploitation of a minor and attempted commercial sexual abuse of a minor, according to a press release from the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement arrested Thomas Riehl, of Ellensburg; Spencer Voice and Matthew Roque, both of Colville; Scott Jackson and Kaleb Grimm, both of Addy; Travis Hiibner, of Spokane Valley; and Jason Frank, of Spokane, the sheriff’s office said.
“Offenders who prey on children are some of the most difficult and heinous crimes we face, and going after these specific cases can carry a heavier burden,” Stevens County Prosecutor Erika George said in the release. “But these law enforcement agencies face that head-on and are relentless and dedicated to sending the message that the exploitation and abuse of children will not be tolerated. The Stevens County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to support these operations to ensure the safety of children in our community.”
The operation was spearheaded by the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Washington State Patrol’s Eastern Washington Missing and Exploited Children Task Force and Internet Crimes Against Children affiliates. The prosecutor’s office, U.S. Border Patrol Colville Station and Othello, Spokane and Caldwell, Idaho, police departments were also involved.
“Internet crimes against children are at an all-time high and targeting the individuals that prey on our youth is an absolute high priority for the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Brad Manke said in the release. “This operation was aimed at protecting our vulnerable children and making our communities safer.”
Anyone with information on the suspects or information leading to the identity of potential victims is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (509) 684-5296 and ask for Detective Denis Yunin, or email Yunin at email@example.com.