YAKIMA, Wash. - A jury in Yakima has convicted a man for child rape who was one of over a dozen people arrested in that area during a 2019 sting operation for suspected child sexual abusers.
In November 2019, federal, state and local law enforcement went online posing as either young children or a mother looking for someone to have sex with her young children. Both the postings did not hide the involvement of an underage person. This was dubbed ‘Operation Net Nanny.'
There were a handful of ‘Operation Net Nanny’ stings that year, with each investigation focusing on a certain county or area.
While there were no physical victims, the sting nabbed 16 potential child predators in Yakima County alone.
On Sept. 20, 2023, Veniamin Gaidaichuk, 31, was the first person arrested in this sting to be convicted by a Yakima jury.
According to prosecutors, in 2019, Gaidaichuk pretended his name was "Ben" and reached out to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl online. The AG's Office said law enforcement had previously used this personality for the teen in an operation in July 2019, but Gaidaichuk was not arrested at that time.
The AG's Office said the undercover officer, posing as a teen, told Gaidaichuk over the phone that she did not have condoms and did not want to get pregnant. Gaidaichuk responded that neither would be an issue and that he wanted her to have a good time.
After texting for a few days, Gaidaichuk arrived at what he thought was the teen's home in Yakima. He was then arrested by law enforcement and was found with a box of condoms in the backseat of his car.
Gaidaichuk was convicted of felony attempted second-degree child rape and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
The conviction comes after a criminal prosecution by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The state AG's office does not have the authority to initiate criminal investigations unless it receives and accepts a referral from a county prosecutor or the governor.
According to the AG's Office, they accepted six case referrals from Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Brusic following that 2019 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, their office said.
Gaidaichuk could face anywhere from seven and a half to 10 years in prison for attempted second-degree child rape, with a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.
Sentencing is scheduled for a later date.