David Lee Sprague was taken into custody in Jefferson County Superior Court after his conditions of release were revoked. Sprague, 35, was arrested in the March 2018 Net Nanny sting and charged with two counts of attempted rape of a child. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

David Lee Sprague was taken into custody in Jefferson County Superior Court after his conditions of release were revoked. Sprague, 35, was arrested in the March 2018 Net Nanny sting and charged with two counts of attempted rape of a child. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Sequim man sent back to jail for violations

Trial set Dec. 2 in Net Nanny case

PORT TOWNSEND — A Sequim man charged with attempted rape of a child in the Net Nanny operation last year has been sent back to jail after his conditions of release were revoked.

David Lee Sprague, 35, was taken into custody Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court following more than an hour of testimony that Commissioner Eileen Baratuci said demonstrated to her that Sprague used the internet for purposes other than school or work and that he may have committed additional crimes.

Both were violations of his conditions of release.

Sprague was taken from the courtroom in handcuffs and transported to jail, where he remained Saturday in lieu of $70,000 bail.

He 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’s trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 2.

Sprague was one of 10 men swept up in the Net Nanny sting, a region-wide, multi-jurisdictional operation based in Jefferson County in March 2018.

The State Patrol rented a home in Port Hadlock and used it as a location to reel in those who answered online ads and drove to the address expecting to have sex with a minor, according to court documents.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Julie St. Marie said in an April press release there were hundreds of responses.

Five of the men have either been found guilty or pleaded guilty. Two have since died.

The case against Timothy Jay Rondeau Jr., 32, of Sequim was dismissed with prejudice Aug. 2 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.

Sprague’s pre-trial hearing Friday was split between St. Marie’s motion to revoke his conditions of release and, separately, whether or not certain statements Sprague made to law enforcement officers at the time of his arrest would be admissible at trial.

St. Marie called Laura Lazelle, from Beaverton, Ore., to the witness stand to provide testimony about Sprague’s use of Facebook and text messaging that led to their sexual relationship that began in late September.

She said she created a profile on a Facebook dating app, and Sprague responded. Lazelle told the court she has traveled to Sequim to be with him nearly every weekend since.

“Once I got home, I had a conversation with my best friend and decided to Google Mr. Sprague’s name,” Lazelle said. “I felt it was too good to be true.”

She said she found news accounts of Sprague’s involvement in the Net Nanny arrests and sent him screenshots, demanding answers.

“I was definitely not satisfied with his response,” Lazelle said. “I felt I had been misled. Had I known, I never would have come up from Beaverton to see him.”

She said she had been with Sprague for five days last week and was staying with him in Sequim on Wednesday when she went through his cellphone at 2 a.m. and discovered he had contacted and sent explicit photos to between six and 10 women.

“There were photos of his genitalia as well as his physical appearance,” she told the court.

Lazelle said she showed Sprague she had his phone, yelled at him, and ran to the bathroom and locked the door behind her.

She said Sprague broke the lock on the door and twisted her arm behind her back, and they struggled for control over Sprague’s phone. They argued from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., she said. She said she sent screenshots of conversations to Sprague’s wife and other women in his contacts.

Lazelle said she attempted to call 9-1-1 several times, but she ultimately didn’t because Sprague threatened to harm himself.

“He had his pocket knife and said he was going to tell them I stabbed him with his knife,” she said. “I watched him insert the blade into his neck as far as it would go.”

On cross-examination, defense attorney Richard Davies pointed out that the woman did not have permission to have Sprague’s phone.

When St. Marie objected to Davies’ line of questioning about their sexual history, he said he was trying to establish “whether there was unlawful imprisonment or assault [by Sprague], or perhaps the other way around.”

Davies said there was no physical evidence documented because Lazelle didn’t call Sequim police, and she said there were no abrasions on her arm but that it was sore.

St. Marie said there was more than enough evidence to show Sprague had been using the internet to communicate with potential victims.

“It’s not just that he’s engaging in a fantasy and isn’t hurting anybody,” she said. “Moreover, he is accessing the internet to satisfy his sexual desires.”

Baratuci ruled a violation of Sprague’s conditions of release had occurred.

She also found comments Sprague said to arresting officers after he was read his Miranda rights on March 23, 2018, were admissible at trial because they were unsolicited.

Sprague was arrested at the Port Hadlock location after he allegedly answered an ad posted by an undercover officer on Craigslist. The undercover officer was posing as a mother who was offering her two girls, 12 and 8, for sex with older men.

Sprague arrived at the predetermined location with three condoms and lubricant, according to court documents.

State Trooper Anthony Califano, who assisted arresting officers that day, testified Friday that Sprague made a series of statements without being asked any questions.

“He advised his life was over and asked what he was doing there,” Califano said. “He asked, ‘What is wrong with me?’”

Detective Sgt. Tyler Peninger of the Port Angeles Police Department helped transport Sprague from the Port Hadlock house to the Jefferson County Jail.

While en route, Peninger said Sprague initiated contact with him.

“This isn’t me,” Peninger testified Sprague said to him. “I’m a good guy. I’m not a bad guy.

“Why did I do it? I don’t know why I did it.

“Who’s going to hire me?”

Peninger said Sprague told him he’s never hurt anyone.

“The other statement he made was, ‘I love my wife and kids. I work for my wife and kids. I work seven days a week for them.’”

________

Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at bmclean@peninsula dailynews.com.

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