Final 18 suspects in net nanny operation appear in court - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Final 18 suspects in net nanny operation appear in court

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BENTON COUNTY, WA - Today, the last 18 suspects in the net nanny operation faced a judge in court.

The men ranged from ages 20 to 75 years old, and agreed to various sex crimes with children. Some of them have criminal records, while others are first time offenders. They could face charges, including attempted rape of a child, sex abuse of a minor, and distribution of drugs to kids.

We've been taking out some of the graphic details, but the agencies involved say parents should be aware of what is out there on the internet.

The net nanny operation is designed to find these child predators online using websites like Craigslist and Backpage. Some of the suspects were suspicious of who was on the other end of the phone or computer...asking for pictures to prove they were actually a young girl. Others offered to pay for sex.

In this case, more than 1,000 people responded to ads titled "Mommy likes to watch young family fun," or "Young and looking for older daddy." In most of these cases, undercover officers posed as a 13-year-old girl. Officers then arrested the suspects when they got to the agreed meeting place.

Most of the suspects are now not allowed to be around children unless there is another adult supervising. Most of them are also now not allowed to use the internet unless it's work-related and monitored. Bail ranged from $10,000 to $50,000.


7-12-17 UPDATE:

BENTON COUNTY, WA - Three more suspects appeared in court today as part of WSP's net nanny operation. They're just three of more than a dozen people who were wanting to have sex with kids.

40-year-old John Scheline of Pasco, 47-year-old Darren Kerbyson of West Richland, and 41-year-old Gabriel Saenz of Kennewick appeared in Benton County Superior Court this morning.     

According to the documents, Scheline responded to a Craigslist ad titled, "Married Dad for Young Host." He admitted to chatting online with a father about having sex and, if "the mood was right," he would also perform sexual acts on his 13-year-old son.

When he showed up, the 13-year-old boy answered the door and Scheline turned around and walked away. Officers caught up to him and arrested him in Benton County.

Kerbyson also responded to a Craigslist ad from an officer posing as a 13-year-old boy. Police arrested him after agreeing to meet. Officers also found sex paraphernalia when they searched him.               

The third is Gabriel Saenz, and he answered to a similar ad. Saenz sent naked pictures as a reply. Officers arrested him at the agreed meeting place.            

We've also been able to confirm John Scheline is the former executive director of Ignite Youth Mentoring in Richland. Darren Kerbyson, another suspect, is a computer scientist at PNNL.

So far, 6 of the 26 arrested have appeared in court. 18 more suspects are expected to be in court tomorrow.


7-11-17 UPDATE:

TRI-CITIES, WA - New information now, involving WSP's net nanny operation that has put more than two dozen people who were wanting to have sex with kids, in jail.

Many of the suspects are from the Tri-Cities. Three men made their preliminary appearances in court today, and documents are shedding light onto just how explicit some of these suspects were getting online with undercover officers they thought were underage boys and girls.

We've edited the graphic details. 32-year-old Ryan Harris, 70-year-old Douglas Arbogast, and 21-year-old Marco Celis-Hernandez went before a judge in Benton County Superior Court. 

According to court documents, Harris - from Pendleton, Oregon - responded to a Craigslist ad with inappropriate pictures. He was arrested after trying to meet with who he thought was a 13-year-old boy. Police say Harris admitted that if the undercover officer was the young boy, he would have taken him home to have sex with him.

Arbogast - from Pasco - also responded to a Craigslist ad from an officer posing as a mom who "inferred" that they liked to watch men have sex with her two kids. He was arrested after agreeing to meet, but told police that he only agreed with intent to meet the mother. 

Celis-Hernandez - from Richland - answered a similar ad. Once again, the undercover officer made it clear to the suspect that she intended for him to have sex with her kids. But Hernandez was only interested in sex acts with the fictional 11-year-old girl. When he was arrested, he told detectives he was going to pay the mom $75 to have sex with the little girl.

Bail has been set for each suspect at $10,000.

We've also been able to confirm that suspect John Sheline was the former executive director of Ignite Youth Mentoring in Richland. Reporter Veronica Padilla reached out to Ignite and they've released a statement.

"Ignite Youth Mentoring is aware of the arrest and investigation into our previous director and mentor John Scheline. Ignite Youth Mentoring has a zero-tolerance policy toward abuse or exploitation of any kind and we are deeply saddened to learn of this. While he had resigned as Executive Director effective March 6, 2017, Mr. Scheline had remained a Mentor with our program. He was immediately terminated from this role once we learned of his arrest.

"We have reached out to law enforcement to offer our full support in the investigation. While we are not aware of a single allegation of misconduct during John’s employment or mentor match, we wish to be proactive on any request to investigate all of his relationships while connected with Ignite.

"Ignite Youth Mentoring makes child safety our first priority. We carefully screen and match adults with kids and provide ongoing support and monitoring to all participants in our program. In addition, Ignite staff members have ongoing and regular communication with volunteers, mentees and their families and are trained to immediately make law enforcement and child protective services authorities aware of reports of abuse or exploitation.

"The integrity of our program is extremely important and to achieve the highest quality standards possible, we work to constantly review and strengthen our screening and national background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge.

"We reaffirm our commitment to invest in the future by empowering today’s youth to find hope and safety through adult mentors who will help them form strong values, develop social and job-related skills, and discover God’s purpose for their lives."

Sheline and the rest of the suspects arrested during the sting will be in court either tomorrow or Thursday.



TRI-CITIES, WA - A major sting operation led by Washington State Patrol put more than two dozen men in jail. The suspects wanted to sexually assault children after meeting them online. 

The majority of the 26 men who were arrested are from the Tri-Cities. Other suspects were from Tieton, Yakima, and Pendleton.

The five-day net nanny operation involved 12 law enforcement units, including WSP's Missing and Exploited Children's Task Force, Richland Police Department, and the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

Officers went undercover on at least ten websites including Craigslist and Backpage, posing as underage children - or even more shocking - parents wanting to sell their children for sex.

Police say they got at least a thousand responses.

The 26 men who were arrested are between 20 and 75 years old and traveled to meet with who they thought were underage boys and girls. Now they could face charges including attempted rape of a child, sex abuse of a minor, and distribution of drugs to kids.

"Often times we think of ourselves here on an island and that we don't deal or have to deal with these big city crimes that you hear about on the west side of the state," said Chief Chris Skinner with Richland PD. "But we do, and this is a tremendous example of the types of crimes that are occurring every single day in our communities." 

This is the eighth net nanny operation that's been done in the state in the past two years. So far, more than 100 people have been arrested, and police have also rescued 21 victims. 

One of the most sickening things about this sting was police learning there are parents online offering adults the chance to have sex with their children. So can you protect your kids? Police say it all comes down to educating parents that these types of predators are out there, even in the Tri-Cities.

"Trust but verify what they're doing," said Lt. James Mjor with WSP. "These are kids, they're making decisions that adults should be making. 11-year-olds should not be making decisions to offer themselves to adults."

Police want to help so kids don't become victims. Next Wednesday, July 19, Richland PD is offering a free class at WSU Tri-Cities about the dangers kids face online, including what happens when kids share pictures on social media.

The Screenshot Series: Going Viral - A Parents' Guide is from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at WSU Tri-Cities, 2710 Crimson Way, Richland.


TRI-CITIES, WA - Multi-agency law enforcement and prosecuting attorney task force arrested 26 suspects during a multi-day operation in the Tri-Cities. The operation led by the Washington State Patrol's Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF) targeted individuals who wanted to sexually assault children.

"Children are becoming increasingly vulnerable to sexual predators due to the growth of the internet," says WSP Chief John R. Batiste. "Thanks to the hard work by our law enforcement and prosecutor partners we are able to make Washington communities safer for our families."

Law enforcement officers acting in an undercover capacity, communicated on the internet through various websites with individuals interested in having sex with children. The operation generated hundreds of responses. The would-be perpetrators who were arrested in the operation traveled to meet with undercover detectives posing as young girls and boys with the intent to engage in sexual activity with them.

In addition to the 26 suspects that were arrested, 5 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 the appropriate assistance for any abuse they may have been exposed to.

The crimes investigated are:

  • RCW 9A.44.073 - Rape of a child in the first/second degree - attempt
  • RCW 69.50.406 - Distribution to persons under age of eighteen
  • RCW 9.68A.100 - Commercial sexual abuse of a minor
  • RCW 9.68A.070 - Possession of depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct
  • RCW 9.68A.050 - Dealing in depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct
  • RCW 9.68A.090 - Communication with a minor for immoral purposes

This is the eighth similar operation in Washington state since August 2015. The operation includes partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement. The "Net Nanny" series conducted throughout the state of Washington has netted a total of 115 arrests.

The names of the individuals arrested during the operation are:

1. Ryan D. Harris, 32, Pendleton, OR

2. Douglas Arbogast, 70, Pasco, WA

3. Marco A. Celis-Hernandez, 21, Richland, WA

4. Andrew L. Sanders, 33, Pasco, WA

5. John M. Sheline, 40, Pasco, WA

6. Gabriel Saenz, 41, Kennewick, WA

7. William J. Barrett, 47, Kennewick, WA

8. Darren J. Kerbyson, 50, West Richland, WA

9. James C. Doty, 34, Richland, WA

10. Yasir M. Majeed, 35, Kennewick, WA

11. Gregory B. Taber, 75, Pasco, WA

12. John N. Schouviller, 31, Pasco, WA

13. Antonio C. Garcia, 21, Richland, WA

14. Lucas F. Beach, 38, Pasco, WA

15. Stephen C. Perez, 45, Pasco, WA

16. Ali Al Mahfood, 35, Kennewick, WA

17. Kyle R. Sickels, 25, Kennewick, WA

18. Jesus G. Contreras Salgado, 29, Tieton, WA

19. Dewayne L. Hetrick, 42, Kennewick, WA

20. Thomas A. Swarers, 69, Kennewick, WA

21. Jerome G. Williams, 24, Kennewick, WA

22. James C. Escobeda, 20, Kennewick, WA

23. Yuriy L. Gulchuk, 35, Kennewick, WA

24. Jairo Lopez, 20, Yakima, WA

25. Aaron D. Hagerty, 42, Kennewick, WA

26. Daniel A. Medina, 20, Pendleton, OR

This success of this operation was a collaborative effort involving the following agencies:

  • WSP Missing and Exploited Children's Task Force
  • Southeast Region Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • U.S. Homeland Security Investigations
  • Richland Police Department
  • Kennewick Police Department
  • Benton County Sheriff Office
  • Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
  • Washington State Attorney General Office
  • U.S. Attorney General Office
  • Washington State Patrol High-Tech Crime Unit
  • Washington State Patrol Criminal Investigations Division