Attorney General’s Office charged six individuals nabbed in “Net Nanny” operation in Yakima targeting individuals seeking to rape children
YAKIMA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today a Yakima County Superior Court judge sentenced an Idaho man to nearly five years in prison following his guilty plea for charges related to felony attempted child rape. A different Yakima judge earlier this month sentenced an Ellensburg man to nearly six years in prison for his role in a 2019 law enforcement operation in Yakima targeting individuals who sought to rape children.
Benjamin Cool, a 27-year-old Nampa, Idaho man pleaded guilty on May 24 to one count of attempted child molestation in the second degree, one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes. The Attorney General’s Office recommended a prison sentence of 58.5 months — nearly five years. When released from prison, Cool must register as a sex offender for 10 years.
“We have held a second individual accountable for preying on children,” Ferguson said. “The work of law enforcement across the state to protect children is vital. I appreciate the partnership with the Washington State Patrol and Yakima County to investigate these important cases and bring accountability.”
The prosecution of Cool was one of six cases the Attorney General’s Office is handling from a November 2019 “Net Nanny” operation in Yakima. State, local and federal law enforcement officers from as far away as Hawaii 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 when the men arrived at pre-arranged meeting locations.
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. The Attorney General’s Office accepted referrals from Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Brusic in these six cases.
On Nov. 18, 2019, as detailed in Cool’s affidavit of probable cause, Cool replied to an ad an undercover task force detective posted on an online dating and social media website. The detective used a profile with a female name, but no age, and posted an ad that had a picture of Alice from the Disney animated film “Alice in Wonderland” and the words, "Young. Bored. F[emale]. HMU [hit me up]."
Later that day, the detective received a direct message from "Turnip_stars" that greeted her and asked for her age. Law enforcement later identified the account as Cool’s. The detective responded as a 13-year-old girl and the two began sending text messages to one another.
During the text exchange, Cool asked for pictures of the girl and described what explicit acts he would do to her, including rape. He sent the undercover detective a photograph of himself holding up a box of condoms.
The detective sent him an address to a house in Yakima and Cool arrived there, from where he was staying in Ellensburg, just after midnight on Nov.19, 2019. He asked the undercover officer at the door, posing as the girl, to confirm that her mother was out for the night, and told her he was excited. Officers arrested him a few seconds later.
Prosecution resulted in six year prison sentence earlier in June
On June 10, a Yakima County Superior Court judge sentenced Bradley V. Tschauner to nearly six years in prison following his guilty plea for charges related to felony attempted child rape.
Tschauner, a 32-year-old from Ellensburg, previously pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to commit rape of a child in the first degree. The Attorney General’s Office had earlier recommended a prison sentence of 69.75 months — nearly six years. When released from prison, Tschauner must register as a sex offender for 15 years and will be under community supervision for three years.
On Nov. 15, 2019, as detailed in Tschauner’s affidavit of probable cause, Tschauner replied to an ad from an undercover task force detective posted on a social media website. The ad was a picture of a living room decorated in Christmas holiday decor. There were words over the picture that read, “Family fun. Be discrete. HMU [hit me up] if ur like minded.”
The detective posed as a mother with two girls, ages 11 and 13. The detective received a response from “trainwreck420,” whom law enforcement later identified as Tschauner. He wrote, "Hey there how’s it going?"
The detective asked Tschauner whether age mattered; he replied that age did not matter as long as he had the mother’s consent. The detective then told Tschauner that her daughters were 11 and 13. Tschauner texted back “Nice,” and immediately described the explicit acts he intended to do to the girls, including rape. Later, he wrote that “family fun is one of my fantasies.” He also texted the detective an explicit photograph of his genitals.
Tschauner agreed to come to a Yakima house the following afternoon. Officers with the task force arrested him when he arrived. Officers found condoms, gifts for the two girls and a “slim” sex toy on him. Tschauner admitted in interviews with law enforcement that he intended to have sex with the girls.
Four more trials remain scheduled
Trials are scheduled to begin in the coming months 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.
- Richie H. Robertson, 23, from Yakima. Prosecutors charged him with felony attempted second-degree child rape and felony communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
- Veniamin N. Gaidaichuk, 30, from Everett. Prosecutors charged him with felony attempted second-degree child rape and felony communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
- Kendrick Yallup-Littlebull, 23, from Yakima. Prosecutors charged him with felony attempted first- and second-degree child rape.
The charges against all of the men 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.
The standard sentencing range for attempted first- or second-degree child rape for a person with no criminal history is five to 7.5 years, with a maximum penalty of life in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000. Communication with a minor for immoral purposes and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor have a maximum sentence of no more than five years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Assistant Attorneys General Kent Liu, Sean Waite and Kyle Wood 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.
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Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.firstname.lastname@example.org
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