Colorado man charged in Washington Net Nanny sting

LONGMONT, Colo. — A 62-year-old Colorado man has been charged with child sex crimes through a Washington state internet sting.

Ten people were arrested between March 23-26 during Net Nanny, an operation led by the Washington State Patrol in which detectives posed as children on the internet at websites known to be used by predators.

Those arrested had expected to meet children at a place in Jefferson County that was not disclosed to the public.

One has committed suicide, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Longmont, Colo., detectives arrested Gary Lee Hansel on March 29 after Washington State Patrol troopers told them that they had had text message correspondence with Hansel.

They said that Hansel admitted to having sexual contact with at least three Colorado juveniles, ages 14, 15 and 16.

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said Hansel, a Longmont resident, has been 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.

According to the affidavit for warrant of arrest:

On March 26, Hansel said he meets up with a 15-year old boy one to two times per week. Hansel sent multiple photos of a 15-year-old boy, and a photo of himself during the explicit text correspondence with the Washington state undercover detective.

On March 28, Washington State Patrol continued the text conversation and Hansel sent photos and a video clip of a 14-year-old male.

Hansel texted that he was planning to visit the Seattle area in May or June and wanted to visit the texter.

“Of course, he’s presumed innocent until proven guilty,” said District Attorney Dougherty in a phone interview Thursday.

“Obviously it’s a serious case. It takes a joint investigation to bring the person to justice and it’s an ongoing investigation.”

Catherine Olguin, public information officer for the Boulder district attorney’s office, said Hansel’s first court appearance was March 30, when a $200,000 bond was set. He was formally charged with six felony counts April 3.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 23. He has not posted bail and continues to be held in the Boulder County jail.

The judge has said that Hansel can have no contact with alleged victims, no contact with anyone younger than 18 years of age, and no possession of, or access to, electronic equipment with internet access or photo or video capability.

According to Boulder County court documents, Washington State Patrol reported that in 2015, Hansel was charged with third-degree rape of a minor.

Jefferson County Detective Shane Stephenson said the Net Nanny operation is a great example of law enforcement and different municipalities working together.

“Boulder County should get a lot of credit for their effort,” Stephenson said.

“We based this operation in Jefferson County, but we were communicating with people online, and that means we have different jurisdiction and states involved. We will be following up on all communications, and the investigation continues.”

Law enforcement authorities in Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties are continuing to investigate, according to Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King on March 30.

He said that detectives were following up on internet contacts that 40-65 more people had with the undercover officers during the four-day operation out of a house that the State Patrol rented in the Port Hadlock area.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jmcmacken@peninsuladailynews.com.

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