As lawyers worked on the cases, it was apparent that the WSP (Washington State Patrol), MECTF (Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force), worked around loopholes in the law in order to justify what they would call a good and successful arrest.
Monitoring other cases and attending Net Nanny trials, we saw a continual pattern of lies and deceitful cons used in order to get the catfished individuals to say something to the fictitious 13, 14 year old girl or boy, or to say something which they would teach fictitious children about sex when asked by the so called mother.
This of course was the original intent of Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez, head of MECTF to begin with. Once they accomplish this, they move on to luring them to travel to the trap-house. A “substantial step” of traveling is all that’s needed to establish “intent” to “attempt” the crime for which the prosecutor charges. Prior to the sting operations, Rodriguez and the prosecutor would sit down and pre-determine the crimes, charges, and senteces they were trying to achieve, and what would be necessary to accomplish that.
We had established close relationships with other parents and continually exchanged information that we learned regarding other cases, the arrestees and their families, as well as information and strategies we obtained from our lawyers.
Early on we realized it was difficult to obtain a Not Guilty verdict as judges and juries were extremely biased in their findings.
Having the background of the stings and convictions, we were now ready to approach legislators. We had developed a network with other coalitions and advocates fighting different causes but were told that most legislators would have NO IDEA or KNOWLEDGE about our issue since it was so new. Therefore it was important to tell them everything we had learned about these stings and tell our stories, describing the injustices that took place in getting our young boys and men arrested.
All the time we continued to scour the internet for any and all information we could find regarding the stings, WSP, Rodriguez, and O.U.R. (Operation Underground Railroad), the Non Profit that financed these stings. It was found that a quid pro quo arrangement between Rodriguez, the WSP, and O.U.R. was establied, i.e. WSP was to mention O.U.R. in their press releases and O.U.R. would contribute funds.
From: Matt Osborne
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2016 3:31 PM
To: Rodriguez, Carlos (WSP)
Cc: Tim Ballard; Jerry Gowen; Sylvia Ui’lani Matayoshi
Subject: O.U.R. support to Net Nanny 5
[Note: Matt Osborne is Senior Vice President for Rescue and Rehabilitation Operation Underground Railroad]
…We also would be more in a position to support if we could receiving something in writing or at least a more firm commitment that we will be able to do joint press releases and media appearances after this operation. We hope you understand that we are not trying to be unreasonable with this request, and that media exposure provides the lifeblood of additional donor resources that we need to be able to save exploited children in the U.S. and around the world. We would hate to have the ICAC issue or some other bureaucratic or jurisdictional impediment rear its head again after the successful completion of Net Nanny 5. (Original Full E-mail)
We came to realize the Legislature was the place to get the injustice of these stings corrected. But how do we meet them and convince them to advocate for our issue?
We started by contacting our own district representatives. This is hopefully your strongest advocate as you are a voter in their district. Attend your representatives Town Hall meetings and any meetings yours and other representatives hold on judicial justice, whether juvenile justice or otherwise.
Get creative on ways to put yourself and your other advocates in front of the different legislators. Finding people to advocate in different districts, as I mentioned before is strong, as legislators listen better to voters in their own districts.
Virtual meetings allow you to attend several meetings during the week. If virtual meetings are not available, it is important for you to attend them in person so you can present your story and your ASK directly to the committee members. Remember, it is necessary for them to hear your story and the pros and cons of your issue.
Continue to stay in touch with them, asking for occasional updates. Update them with new information about the stings and new ones as they occur. Keep good stats on number of arrests, kids supposedly or actually saved, ages of those arrested.
The more advocates the better. Be consistent and persistent!
Washington State Legislators question Operation Net Nanny Stings!
In 2021 we were able to work with several Washington State Legislature Representatives in order to get $90k in the 2021-2023 WA State budget to study the Net Nanny and similar fictitious victim sting operations. We will include a link to the study once available (by end of May 2023).
It is important to prepare a ONE page “ASK” for the Legislators you are working with. This “ASK” is the basis of the Bill you are ASKING them to write for passage in the Legislature. Below is the “ASK” we presented to our Legislators in Washington State.
“Net Nanny Stings are new joint police operations between the Washington State Patrol and County Prosecutors. Agents, posing as adults on dating sites, engage in conversations with targets that turn into conversations about hypothetical minors, and these written exchanges are used to convict defendants for sentences of ten years to life. Since 2015, 313 people in Washington State have been arrested by these stings.
Although law enforcement agencies claim that these stings remove dangerous sex predators and somehow make our communities safer, the reality is far more complicated. These stings use questionable tactics to ensnare primarily young people with no histories of conviction and are predicated on the manufacture of a crime without any victims. In all cases, defendants are receiving sentences far longer than cases with living victims. We are asking legislators to write a bill that would retroactively vacate the convictions and sentences for those caught in these stings of questionable procedural behavior by law enforcement, find the conduct of CATFISHING unknown targets with no probable cause as outrageous behavior by law enforcement and not to be allowed in Washington State. Immediately release those incarcerated individuals having already served 1 year or more, fix these sentencing loopholes where applicable, and push for an audit of the stings to determine their actual utility, appropriateness of use of funds and other resources, and fairness.”