PORT TOWNSEND — State Patrol investigators have announced another arrest in the Net Nanny operation that targeted sexual predators, held last month in Jefferson County.
“Our detectives are always working these types of cases,” said Lt. James Mjor of the State Patrol. “Although we do not anticipate any more arrests from our Jefferson County operation, we will realize arrests as we continue our attempts to keep the internet safe from these child predators.
“To date, Net Nanny has resulted in 12 suspects arrested and booked for their crimes against children.”
Derek Richard Barnes, 54, of Gig Harbor, was taken into custody several days after the operation concluded and was charged in Pierce County with second-degree attempted rape of a child, as well as communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and delivering a controlled substance to a person under the age of 18 (marijuana).
He started communicating with detectives during the Jefferson County operation that took place March 23-26, police said.
Ten people were arrested during the operation led by the State Patrol in which detectives posed as children on the internet at websites known to be used by predators. They arranged to meet the men in a Port Hadlock house rented by the State Patrol. One man arrested in March — Thomas E. Gale, 53, of Port Townsend — was found dead of apparent suicide on March 30, police said.
Since then, a 62-year-old Longmont, Colo., man has been charged in the sting.
Gary Lee Hansel was arrested in Longmont on March 29.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said Hansel was charged with six felony counts: third-degree sexual exploitation of a child-induces sexually exploitative material, third-degree sexual exploitation of a child-distribute sexually exploitative material, third-degree sexual exploitation of a child-induces explicit sexual performance, fourth-degree sexual exploitation of a child-possess video, fourth-degree internet exploitation of a child and fourth-degree internet luring of a child.
James Lynch, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office communications director, said Barnes was booked into the Pierce County jail on April 4 with an initial bail set at $250,000. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is currently in custody and a jury trial is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 21.
Seven children between 8-13 years old were identified as potential victims of sex abuse crimes as a result of the arrests, authorities said.
More than 60 law enforcement officials and staff from 21 local, regional, state and national agencies were involved in Net Nanny operations which the State Patrol began in 2015.
Since its inception, 170 arrests have been made and 24 child victims have been identified, the State Patrol said. This was the 11th operation conducted in the state.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]