First jury conviction from 2019 “Net Nanny” operation targeting individuals seeking to rape children
YAKIMA — A Yakima County jury on Monday convicted Veniamin N. Gaidaichuk of Everett of felony attempted second-degree child rape and communication with a minor for immoral purposes, following a criminal prosecution by Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Sentencing will occur on Nov. 7. Gaidaichuk, 31, faces a standard sentencing range for attempted second-degree child rape from 90 to 118.5 months in prison, with a maximum penalty of life in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000. Communication with a minor for immoral purposes has a maximum sentence of no more than five years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
This was the Attorney General’s Office first jury conviction stemming from charges related to a November 2019 “Net Nanny” law enforcement operation in Yakima. The Attorney General’s Office accepted six case referrals from Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Brusic following that operation and recently accepted three additional cases from it. Four of those cases resulted in guilty pleas before trial and one more is set for trial in October.
“The work of law enforcement across the state to protect children is vital,” Ferguson said. “Keeping our communities safe from predators is an important part of my office’s work. I appreciate our partnership with the Washington State Patrol and Yakima County to investigate these cases and keep child predators off the streets.”
The prosecution of Gaidaichuk is one of eight cases the Attorney General’s Office is handling from a November 2019 “Net Nanny” operation in Yakima. State, local and federal law enforcement officers conducted the operation, which the Washington State Patrol Missing and Exploited Children Task Force coordinated and led. Detectives posed online as minors offering sex, or, alternatively, as individuals offering minors for sex. They arrested 16 men.
The Attorney General’s Office does not have authority to initiate criminal investigations, unless it receives and accepts a referral from a county prosecutor or the governor.
On Nov. 15, 2019, as detailed in Gaidaichuk’s affidavit of probable cause, he posed online as “Ben” and reached out to a 13-year-old girl. Law enforcement previously used the personality for the girl in an operation in July 2019 but officers did not arrest Gaidaichuk at that time.
Gaidaichuk agreed to speak over the phone with the girl and spoke with an undercover officer. The officer said she did not have condoms and did not want to get pregnant. Gaidaichuk responded that neither would be an issue and he wanted her to have a good time.
Over texts the following two days, she encouraged him to come to her house in Yakima and she sent him photos. He complimented her appearance then indicated he was on the way to her house. On the evening of Nov. 17, he arrived at the house and law enforcement officers arrested him. There was a box of condoms in the backseat of his vehicle.
In February, Richie Robertson, a 24-year-old Yakima man, pleaded guilty to one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes. He was released with 185 days served and will register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Kendrick Yallup-Littlebull, 24, from Yakima pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit child molestation in the first degree. A judge sentenced him to more than three years in prison.
Four trials remain scheduled
A trial is scheduled on Oct. 16 against Hayden A. Erlandson, 24, from Yakima. Prosecutors charged him with felony attempted second-degree child rape and felony communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
The Attorney General’s Office also recently accepted three additional cases in the 2019 Net Nanny operation from the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office:
- Lucas Martinez, 38, from White Swan, is charged with attempted first and second degree rape of a child, commercial sexual abuse of a minor and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
- Leonardo M. Sanchez-Breton, 22, from Union Gap, is charged with attempted second degree rape of a child and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
- Frederick W. Thomson, 71, from Union Gap, is charged with attempted first and second degree rape of a child.
Trials for the three men are expected at a later date.
The charges against Erlandson, Martinez, Sanchez-Breton and Thomson are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Assistant Attorneys General Theo Smith and Nick Kiewik are handling the cases for the Attorney General’s Office.
The Rules of Professional Conduct govern what a prosecutor in a criminal case may say publicly before trial. As the prosecutor in this criminal matter, the Attorney General’s Office and its representatives are prohibited from making public statements beyond the narrow scope allowed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. The office will make every effort to be transparent with the public, while upholding its responsibilities as a criminal prosecutor.
Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.email@example.com
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