(The Center Square) – Veniamin Gaidaichuk of Everett was convicted on Monday by a Yakima County jury of felony attempted second-degree child rape and communication with a minor child for immoral purposes, following a criminal prosecution by the office of Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
“The work of law enforcement across the state to protect children is vital,” Ferguson said in a Tuesday news release. “Keeping our communities safe from predators is an important part of my office’s work. I appreciate our partnership with the Washington State Patrol and Yakima County to investigate these cases and keep child predators off the streets.”
Gaidaichuk, 31, is set to be sentenced on Nov. 7. According to the Attorney General’s Office, he faces the standard sentencing range for the attempted rape charge: from 90 to 118.5 months in prison all the way up to life in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000. The maximum sentence for communicating with a minor for immoral purposes is no more than five years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
In November 2019, law enforcement arrested 16 people – Gaidaichuk among them – in Yakima County after a multi-day operation dubbed “Operation Net Nanny” that involved the Washington State Patrol, local Yakima County law enforcement agencies and several partner agencies.
According to Gaidaichuk’s affidavit of probable cause, he posed as “Ben” and reached out to someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl but was actually an undercover police officer. During a subsequent phone conversation between the two, the undercover officer mentioned she did not have condoms, explaining she did not want to get pregnant.
Over texts the next two days, the undercover officer encouraged Gaidaichuk to come to her house in Yakima and she sent him photos.
Police arrested Gaidaichuk two days later when he showed up at her house. A box of condoms was found in the backseat of Gaidaichuk’s vehicle.
The Attorney General’s Office, according to the news release, does not have the authority to initiate criminal investigations unless it receives and accepts a referral from a county prosecutor or the governor.