Two registered sex offenders have been charged in separate incidents for allegedly soliciting sex from juvenile girls in website advertisements. The advertisements were posted by undercover detectives.
Two registered sex offenders have been charged in separate incidents for allegedly soliciting sex from juvenile girls in website advertisements. The advertisements were posted by undercover detectives. King County Prosecutors charged defendant Todd R. Smelser, 49, with Attempted Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor after he allegedly responded to an advertisement on a website ostensibly posted by a minor offering sex in exchange for money. The ad was posted by an undercover Renton Police detective. Smelser has prior convictions for Statutory Rape, Rape of a Child in the Second Degree, and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Smelser remains in jail with bail set at $200,000.
In the other case, defendant Nolan Paul Cyre, 36, who has a prior conviction for possession of child pornography, was charged last week with Attempted Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor after he allegedly responded to a similar website advertisement of a minor offering sex in exchange for money. The ad was posted by an undercover Seattle Police detective. Cyre’s bail is set at $100,000. Both defendants will be arraigned on July 29 at the King County Courthouse.
“There are real victims out there and these defendants were looking for them, but fortunately these victims turned out to be undercover detectives,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg. “Their abuse at the hands of sex buyers does immeasurable harm to the victims and the community,” he added.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office has so far charged 38 men in 2015 with commercial sexual abuse of a minor, compared with 50 cases for all of 2014.
Last October, the King County Prosecutor’s Office, law enforcement officials and community leaders announced a major initiative called “Buyer Beware” to reduce demand for prostitution online. The effort includes an online campaign targeting websites where sex buying takes place and delivers impactful advertising directly to potential buyers online that highlights the harmful effects of sex buying and the penalties for getting caught. The project also provides an innovative sex buyer’s intervention program as a condition of sentencing for convicted sex buyers.
The “Buyer Beware” initiative is a partnership with eight different police departments and city attorney’s offices in King County who are shifting their emphasis to go after sex buyers. The initiative is led by the Organization for Prostitution Survivors and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.