PORT TOWNSEND — A 67-year-old Hoodsport man, arrested in Jefferson County in 2018 in a region-wide child-sex sting operation, has been sentenced to 7½ years for second-degree attempted rape of a child and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
Michael Schluetz, sentenced April 19 in Jefferson County Superior Court, was being evaluated Thursday at the Washington Corrections Center at Shelton by the state Department of Corrections, DOC spokesman Jeremy Barclay said.
Within the next few weeks, Schluetz could be incarcerated indefinitely in one of seven facilities including the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla or Clallam Bay Corrections Center.
The state Indeterminate Sentencing Board will review his case before he can be released, and could keep him incarcerated for more than 7½ years. He will be under a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender and lifelong supervision by the Department of Corrections.
All second-degree attempted child rape convictions include indeterminate sentences.
Schluetz was one of 10 men arrested in the March 22-25, 2018, multi-agency “Net Nanny” sting that used a Port Hadlock home rented by the State Patrol as a snare point for individuals who answered online ads, then drove to the address expecting to have sex with a minor, according to court documents.
The ads were placed on websites including Craigslist and Tinder by undercover detectives posing as underage girls and as mothers of underage girls.
Schluetz answered a Craigslist ad placed by a male detective posing as a “young and fun” “Petite Princess” who needed a “daddy,” messaging Schluetz in one of their first communications that she and a friend were 13, according to court records.
Julie St. Marie, the Jefferson County deputy prosecuting attorney who prosecuted Schluetz, said Thursday there were “hundreds” of responses to the ads.
The average sentence for men caught in “Net Nanny” stings statewide is 7½ years, St. Marie said.
Each of the 10 men who were arrested last March were charged with at least one count of second-degree attempted child rape.
Five men including Schluetz have been found guilty or pleaded guilty, three are awaiting trial, and two died, one by suicide.
A jury found Schluetz guilty Feb. 1.
The “attempted” part of the second-degree child-rape charge requires a person to take “a substantial step toward commission of that crime,” according to state law.
Second-degree child rape applies to victims who are 12-14 years old.
Communication with a minor for immoral purposes is a gross misdemeanor under which the adult must be aware the victim is a minor.
The jury was hung on two counts of delivery of a controlled substance. Schluetz had promised to bring marijuana with him and had about a gram with him when he was arrested.
The detective and a female detective posing as the girl’s friend exchanged more than 70 messages with Schluetz between March 22-25, including five in which Schluetz, saying he was married, described specific sex acts that he wanted to perform on the girls.
Schluetz, acknowledging that he was old enough to be the grandfather of one of the persons he thought was a girl, said he would bring marijuana with him to the Port Hadlock residence and a vegetable.
“Schluetz entered the residence carrying the cucumber, and he was placed under arrest,” according to the State Patrol probable cause statement.
The vegetable was actually a zucchini, according to St. Marie’s trial brief.
“They are sad cases, really,” she said.
“When you see how prevalent this actually is and how many people are seeking this kind of thing out, it’s mind boggling, it’s horrifying.”
Three trials are scheduled for June:
• Issac Joseph Boyd, 22, of Sequim one count of attempted second-degree child rape, one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes, June 3 trial.
• Timothy Jay Rondeau, 32, Sequim one count of attempted second-degree child rape, one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes, June 10 trial.
• David Lee Sprague, 35, Sequim one count each of first- and second-degree child rape, in which an undercover officer posed as a mother who offered her minor girls for sex, June 10 trial.
The following men who were arrested last March were found guilty or pleaded guilty:
• Richard Bertolacci, 78, Bremerton found guilty by jury, of attempted first-degree child rape, second-degree child rape, sentenced to 8¾ years.
• Ming Fai Lee, 21, Auburn pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted child rape and commercial sexual abuse of a minor, sentencing May 17.
As resident of China, Lee will be deported upon completion of his sentence.
• Michael Punt, 57, Bremerton pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child molestation, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, and commercial sexual abuse of a minor, sentenced to 7½ years.
• Andrew Murice Worley, 35, Sequim pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child molestation, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, commercial sexual abuse of a minor. Sentenced to 6½ years.
Worley and Punt pleaded guilty to child molestation to avoid a harsher sentence “although there was no factual basis for that charge,” St. Marie said.
• Clinton R. Caldwell, 67, Sequim charged with attempted first- and second-degree attempted rape of a child, died of colon cancer in October.
• Thomas E. Gale, 53, Port Townsend was arrested for investigation of second-degree attempted child rape and communication with a minor for immoral purposes. was found dead of an apparent suicide at his home March 30, 2018, within a week of his arrest.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].