The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
In July 2017, John Scheline, executive director of Ignite Youth Mentoring in Richland, Washington and former pastor at Faith Assembly in Pasco, Washington and Bozeman Christian Center in Bozeman, Montana, was charged with attempted second degree rape.
All 26 men swept up in a five-day Tri-City operation to combat online child predators have now been charged, with five more appearing Wednesday in court.
William J. Barrett and Andrew L. Sanders both face Sept. 5 trials in Benton County Superior Court, while John M. Scheline, Darren J. Kerbyson and Gabriel Saenz have Oct. 2 dates.
Four of them are charged with attempted second-degree rape of a child and have been released from jail after posting $10,000 bond each.
Barrett is locked up on $25,000 bail because he has additional charges, including bringing methamphetamine and a glass smoking device to the meet-up.
They were arrested as part of a multi-agency effort, dubbed “Tri-Cities Net Nanny Operation,” between July 5 and 9.
Undercover detectives answered postings on various websites and placed their own ads claiming to be kids as young as 11 or parents who were offering their children for sex. Some of the suspects showed up to the predetermined location with condoms and sex toys.
The first three men arrested when authorities were still setting up the operation had Tuesday court hearings. The remaining 18 men are scheduled to appear Thursday.
Scheline, 40, was fired from his job as executive director of Ignite Youth Mentoring after the allegations surfaced. The Pasco father previously served as a pastor at Faith Assembly in Pasco and lead pastor of Bozeman Christian Center in Montana.
Investigators found an advertisement Scheline placed June 13 on Craigslist suggesting that a married dad was looking for a young boy, court documents said.
When a detective responded July 5 as a father offering up his 13-year-old son for sex acts, Scheline allegedly discussed in explicit detail what he would do with the boy.
Scheline eventually was given the address of an apartment. When “the (undercover) son” answered the door, Scheline turned and left and was taken into custody as he tried to get out of the complex, documents said.
The Tri-City Herald later reported:
According to court documents and a presentencing report, Scheline posted an ad on Craigslist identifying himself as a “fit hairy married dad” on June 13, 2017. He wrote that he was looking for a “young guy” for a sexual encounter.
A detective with the Southeast Region Internet Crimes Against Children — part of the Net Nanny team — responded three weeks later.
The detective posed as a 38-year-old father offering his 13-year-old son for sex.
In the email exchange that followed, Scheline discussed sex acts in explicit detail.
On July 6, 2017, he traveled to a Richland apartment for the purported rendezvous.
When an undercover detective playing the role of the son answered the door, Scheline turned and walked away but was arrested in the apartment complex. He had no prior criminal record.
In June 2018, Scheline pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 58 months in prison.