Report of inoperable cancer delays hearing for man accused in Net Nanny sting

PORT ANGELES — Child-sex sting defendant Clinton Roy Caldwell of Sequim has inoperable cancer, delaying two Clallam Superior Court proceedings against him on charges of attempted child rape and felony harassment.

Port Angeles attorney Ralph Anderson, representing Caldwell, 67, said Tuesday his client went from an Avamere care facility Saturday to hospice care at his home.

Caldwell, among a dozen suspected child predators arrested March 23-26 in Jefferson County on a sting law enforcement dubbed Net Nanny, moaned repeatedly Friday at the end of a Superior Court telephonic court hearing at which Judge Erik Rohrer stayed further proceedings until a Nov. 16 hearing.

Anderson said Tuesday that Caldwell has liver and colon cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes.

“He’s in palliative care to make sure he’s comfortable and not in horrible pain and to wait until the end,” Anderson said.

Anderson said during the hearing that he doubts Caldwell is physically competent to assist in his own defense.

“Mr. Caldwell is not comprehending or understanding,” Anderson said.

“His chances for survival are not great.”

A woman at the hearing identified as having Caldwell’s power of attorney answered questions about Caldwell from Rohrer.

Anderson had planned to file a change-of-venue motion to get proceedings moved from Clallam County, but has put that on hold and had his investigator stop interviewing witness in the case, he said Tuesday.

Caldwell continues to maintain his innocence on the charges of first- and second-degree attempted child rape.

“He has never said a word that he feels any guilt or did anything wrong, nothing like that,” Anderson said.

“As far as he is concerned, he is going to trial.”

Anderson said he did not know when Caldwell was diagnosed with cancer but that his client had lost 65 pounds during 30 days in jail on a recent District Court charge.

Caldwell was found guilty of unlawfully carrying a weapon capable of bodily harm in an unrelated March 22 road-rage incident in which he brandished a handgun at a married couple that began after they passed him on U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles.

The confrontation occurred four days before Caldwell was arrested on the attempted child rape charges.

Authorities targeted Caldwell after receiving complaints he was luring abused and homeless women to his residence with promises of housing, then demanding sex in exchange for rent, according to court records.

The investigation began after the Sheriff’s Office contacted the State Patrol over complaints by several women about Caldwell, according to the probable cause statement.

An undercover State Patrol officer answered Caldwell’s Craigslist ad in which he said he offered haven for “a family of women” in “desperate” situations.

He was arrested on his way to a Port Hadlock house that the State Patrol had rented to ensnare the suspected predators “where he believed the sex acts would take place,” according to the probable cause statement.

The harassment-threats to kill-domestic violence charge grew out of an allegation that Caldwell had threatened a woman he blamed for his arrest in the Net Nanny operation, according to the probable cause statement.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.