Child sex sting suspects appear in court
TRI-CITIES, Wash. – Washington State Patrol's Missing and Exploited Children Task force led a sex sting in the Tri-Cities, targeting individuals who wanted to sexually assault children.
Police arrested 26 men accused of showing up at a Richland apartment intending to have sex with young girls and boys.
Three of them made their court appearance Tuesday, with court documents revealing details of the planned met ups. Plus, Action News discovered that another man arrested worked closely with children on a regular basis for his job as a youth mentor.
Twenty-six men arrested in the internet sting operation, ranged in age from 20 to 70 years old (full list below).
Three men appeared in court Tuesday.
Ryan Harris, 32, of Pendleton made his first appearance in Benton County Court.
Harris planned to meet a 13-year-old boy for sex, according to court documents. Harris responded to a post on Craigslist by undercover officers. The ad was titled “young boi needs teacher” and indicated that the poster was interested in older men for “play.”
Court documents say the defendant arrived at the predetermined location and was arrested.
Police say Harris admitted that he was wearing a sex toy and if there had been a 13-year-old boy there, he would have taken him home to have sex.
Another suspect, 70-year-old Douglas Arbogast of Pasco appeared in court Tuesday.
Court documents say Arbogast made arrangements through email and text with an undercover cop—posing as a mother—to have sexual contact with both her 13-year-old boy and 11-year-old girl.
The ad on Craigslist was titled “Mommy likes to watch – young family fun” and inferred that the poster of the ad was a mother who liked to watch men have sexual contact with her children.
The undercover officer was explicit in the communication that the sexual activity was not to include her (the mother), but only her young children, according to court documents.
Arbogast arrived at the meeting location, and that’s where police cuffed him.
Court documents say Arbogast stated age is just a number and said that he went to the residence intending to only meet the mother.
Marco Celis-Hernandez, 21, of Richland also made his first court appearance.
Court documents say he planned with an undercover cop—again, posing as a mother online—to have sex with her 11-year-old daughter.
Like the previous case, the officer posing as the mother was clear that she did not want to have sex, but wanted Celis-Hernandez to come over to have sex with her children.
Celis-Hernanez admitted that he intended to pay the mom $75 for the sex acts with the girl, according to court documents.
KEPR Action News made another disturbing discovery that John Scheline, 40, who was arrested in the sting, was the former executive director and a mentor for Ignite Youth Mentoring program in the Tri-Cities.
Officials say he was immediately terminated from his role as a mentor once Ignite program found out about his arrest.
Ignite youth mentoring board chair John Inman offered a statement saying:
We have reached out to law enforcement to offer our full support in the investigation. While we are not aware of a single allegation of misconduct during John's employment or mentor match, we wish to be proactive on any request to investigate all of his relationships while connected with Ignite.
Ignite Youth Mentoring makes child safety our first priority. We carefully screen and match adults with kids and provide ongoing support and monitoring to all participants in our program.
In addition, Ignite staff members have ongoing and regular communication with volunteers, mentees and their families and are trained to immediately make law enforcement and child protective services authorities aware of reports of abuse or exploitation.
The integrity of our program is extremely important and to achieve the highest quality standards possible, we work to constantly review and strengthen our screening and national background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge.
We reaffirm our commitment to invest in the future by empowering today’s youth to find hope and safety through adult mentors who will help them form strong values, develop social and job related skills, and discover God’s purpose for their lives.
Scheline is expected to appear in court on Wednesday. Bail was set for $10,000 for each suspect who appeared Tuesday.
Many of the other individuals arrested in this massive sting will likely be in court on Thursday. We'll continue to follow these suspects as they make their court appearances.
The names of the individuals arrested during the operation are:
- Ryan D. Harris, 32, Pendleton, OR
- Douglas Arbogast, 70, Pasco, WA
- Marco A. Celis-Hernandez, 21, Richland, WA
- Andrew L. Sanders, 33, Pasco, WA
- John M. Scheline, 40, Pasco, WA
- Gabriel Saenz, 41, Kennewick, WA
- William J. Barrett, 47, Kennewick, WA
- Darren J. Kerbyson, 50, West Richland, WA
- James C. Doty, 34, Richland, WA
- Yasir M. Majeed, 35, Kennewick, WA
- Gregory B. Taber, 75, Pasco, WA
- John N. Schouviller, 31, Pasco, WA
- Antonio C. Garcia, 21, Richland, WA
- Lucas F. Beach, 38, Pasco, WA
- Stephen C. Perez, 45, Pasco, WA
- Ali Al Mahfood, 35, Kennewick, WA
- Kyle R. Sickels, 25, Kennewick, WA
- Jesus G. Contreras Salgado, 29, Tieton, WA
- Dewayne L. Hetrick, 42, Kennewick, WA
- Thomas A. Swarers, 69, Kennewick, WA
- Jerome G. Williams, 24, Kennewick, WA
- James C. Escobeda, 20, Kennewick, WA
- Yuriy L. Gulchuk, 35, Kennewick, WA
- Jairo Lopez, 20, Yakima, WA
- Aaron D. Hagerty, 42, Kennewick, WA
- Daniel A. Medina, 20, Pendleton, OR