PORT TOWNSEND — A Jefferson County jury could not reach a verdict in the case of a Sequim man who was arrested in a 2018 Net Nanny sting.
Judge Keith Harper declared a mistrial Friday in Superior Court after the jury deliberated for about nine hours over two days.
David Lee Sprague, 35, has been charged with first-degree attempted rape of a child and second-degree attempted rape of a child, both Class A felonies punishable by a maximum of life in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.
Sprague, one of 10 men arrested in the Net Nanny operation targeted toward child sex predators, remained Sunday in the Jefferson County jail in lieu of a $70,000 bond.
He has been in jail since Nov. 22, when Court Commissioner Eileen Baratuci revoked his conditions of release.
The multi-agency sting took place during a four-day span in March 2018.
Court documents said Sprague answered a Craigslist ad posted by an undercover State Patrol sergeant and proceeded to engage in email and text messages with an undercover detective.
The detective posed as a mother who was offering her daughters, ages 12 and 8, for sex.
Sprague sent dozens of suggestive texts and several photos of his genitalia to the detective, and he was arrested at a predetermined location in Port Hadlock with his phone, three condoms and lubricant, according to court documents.
Defense attorney Richard Davies of Jefferson Associated Counsel argued there had been entrapment, defined as a person being lured into committing a crime they had not otherwise intended to commit.
“Although ‘Net Nanny’ sting operations may be used by law enforcement to ferret out criminal offenses against children, the government may not unfairly induce a person to commit an offense when the individual was not predisposed to commit the offense,” Davies wrote in the defendant’s jury instructions filed Thursday.
The jury deliberated from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
The foreman notified Harper about 1 p.m. Friday they were having a difficult time reaching a decision, but the judge asked them to continue deliberations through the end of the day.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Julie St. Marie said there were hundreds of responses to the ads posted in the sting.
Of the 10 men who were arrested, five have either been found guilty or pleaded guilty. Two died before their cases were tried.
The case against Timothy Jay Rondeau Jr., 32, of Sequim was dismissed with prejudice last August and can’t be re-filed for the same charges.
The other pending case is filed against Isaac Joseph Boyd, 23, of Sequim, who has a two-week trial scheduled to begin May 18.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.