Trial dates set for February in Net Nanny case

Judge denies change to conditions of release

PORT TOWNSEND — A trial date has been reset for a Sequim man charged with two counts of attempted rape of a child stemming from a Net Nanny sting in Jefferson County.

David Lee Sprague, 35, is now set for a jury trial Feb. 10-13.

He has been in the Jefferson County Jail in lieu of a $70,000 bond since his conditions of release were revoked by Superior Court Commissioner Eileen Baratuci on Nov. 22.

Sprague 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 and prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

Sprague was one of 10 men swept up in the Net Nanny sting, a region-wide, multi-jurisdictional operation targeted toward child sex predators in March 2018.

Defense attorney Richard Davies of Jefferson Associated Council argued before Judge Keith Harper on Friday that Sprague’s conditions of release should be revisited.

Baratuci found that Sprague had been accessing the internet from his phone for purposes other than school or work, and Davies said it’s nearly impossible in today’s society to have a phone that doesn’t access the internet.

“We’ve looked through that entire phone,” Davies said. “The real issue is if he’s using this phone — or hand-held computer — to access children for means to solicit or ask for or any other way to contact children. There is nothing on his phone to say he’s done that.”

Davies conceded that Sprague’s use of the phone is a “technical violation.”

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Julie St. Marie said Davies’ interpretation of Baratuci’s ruling was a misinterpretation.

“Compelling evidence had been presented to show that he had accessed the internet with an electronic device on numerous occasions,” she said.

St. Marie pointed to Sprague’s use of a Facebook dating app that led to a relationship with a woman who provided testimony before Baratuci in November.

St. Marie also said Sprague’s phone calls from jail have been monitored, and he’s been communicating with a different woman who has young children and reportedly recognized Sprague’s photo.

“Mr. Sprague can’t be trusted to obey court orders,” St. Marie said.

Harper said in order to consider a change in conditions of release, he would have to see a change in circumstances.

“There appear to have been violations again, based on Ms. St. Marie’s declarations,” Harper said.

“It’s apparent he’s made contact with minors, at least verbally.”

Harper agreed there wasn’t evidence that showed a direct attempt to make sexual contact with a minor, but that didn’t change his ruling.

“For me, nothing has changed, and the conditions [of release] will remain the same as they are,” he said.

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

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