MAN NABBED IN STING GETS PRISON

Tri-City Herald (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY KRISTIN M. KRAEMER kkrae­[email protected]­i­ty­her­ald.com

Yasir M. Ma­jeed, one of 26 men nabbed in a 2017 sting tar­get­ing adults in­ter­ested in hav­ing sex­ual en­coun­ters with mi­nors, was sen­tenced to 31⁄2 years.

When Yasir M. Ma­jeed sat in front of a com­puter 11⁄2 years ago and chat­ted with a 13-year-old girl about hav­ing sex, the Kennewick man was “more knowl­edge­able than the av­er­age in­ter­net user,” a judge said Fri­day.

Ma­jeed, a long­time IT tech­ni­cian, tes­ti­fied at trial in Novem­ber that he was aware of the lingo, Snapchat fil­ters and emo­jis used by peo­ple on­line, said Judge Alex Ek­strom.

“You weren’t a babe in the woods. You knew ex­actly what was go­ing on be­cause you un­der­stood how these plat­forms worked,” Ek­strom said. “The jury heard your ex­pla­na­tion and the jury re­jected it.”

The girl on the other end that night may have been fic­ti­tious — an un­der­cover de­tec­tive in the Tri-Cities “Net Nanny Op­er­a­tion” — but Ma­jeed still left his house, drove to the des­ig­nated Richland

‘‘

YOU KNEW EX­ACTLY WHAT WAS GO­ING ON BE­CAUSE YOU UN­DER­STOOD HOW THESE PLAT­FORMS WORKED.

Judge Alex Ek­strom

apart­ment com­plex and waited while con­tin­u­ing to text, be­fore driv­ing away.

The fact that he did those things, ver­sus some­one who stayed home and didn’t act on his im­pulses, is con­cern­ing to the com­mu­nity’s safety, the judge said.

Ek­strom de­cided Ma­jeed’s con­duct de­served 31⁄2 years in a state prison.

He split the dif­fer­ence in the stan­dard range, with the four years pros­e­cu­tors were rec­om­mend­ing and the de­fense re­quest for three years.

“I do ac­cept your judg­ment to­day and I’m will­ing to do it,” said Ma­jeed, 37, who was taken into cus­tody at the end of the hear­ing. “I do be­lieve in the sys­tem, I do be­lieve in jus­tice . ... I just want to be a (good) cit­i­zen and have my life on track.”

A Ben­ton County Su­pe­rior Court jury con­victed Ma­jeed in Novem­ber of com­mer­cial sex abuse of a mi­nor and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with a mi­nor for im­moral pur­poses.

The jury was un­able to reach a unan­i­mous ver­dict on a charge of at­tempted child rape.

On Fri­day, pros­e­cu­tors an­nounced they were dis­miss­ing that charge in­stead of go­ing for­ward with a sec­ond trial.

NET NANNY SEX STING

Ma­jeed was one of 26 men nabbed in a July 2017 sting tar­get­ing adults in­ter­ested in hav­ing sex­ual en­coun­ters with mi­nors.

He an­swered a Craigslist ad posted by an un­der­cover of­fi­cer claim­ing to be a young woman look­ing for an “older daddy.”

Over two days of text mes­sages and emails, Ma­jeed was re­peat­edly told he was chat­ting with a 13-year-old run­away. He of­fered to get a ho­tel room and pay $100 to make it worth her time.

Ma­jeed tes­ti­fied that he thought it was all “role play,” he kept chat­ting to fig­ure out if it was a le­git­i­mate per­son on the other end or a scam, and he even tried up­load­ing the girl’s pic­tures to Google Images to see if they be­longed to some­one else.

He drove to the des­ig­nated spot, but left af­ter some time with­out get­ting out of his truck.

He had five $20 bills and four con­doms when he was ar­rested.

He told the jury he al­ways car­ried $100 and con­doms, and would have called 911 if he re­ally had come face-to-face with a 13-year-old run­away.

Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor An­drew How­ell dis­puted Ma­jeed’s claims that what hap­pened was a mis­take and asked the court to send a strong mes­sage that this type of be­hav­ior is not tol­er­ated.

Mr. Ma­jeed is fa­mil­iar with lan­guage that most peo­ple are not. Tech­nol­ogy is not for­eign to him. And he was not a stranger to the site that day,” said How­ell. “(The age) 13 was rep­re­sented. His de­sires were rep­re­sented. It was no mis­take, no ac­ci­dent. He knew what he was do­ing when he went there. He had a spe­cific de­sire and a spe­cific in­tent.”

De­fense at­tor­ney Court Will ar­gued that he be­lieves his client did not know the age of the per­son with whom he was chat­ting, and go­ing to prison is an ex­tremely steep price for Ma­jeed’s ac­tions that day.

Ma­jeed has no prior felony con­vic­tions. Will pointed out that his client grew up in Iraq and had a de­gree in the in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy field, which al­lowed him to start work­ing with the United States mil­i­tary in 2006 as an in­ter­preter.

Ma­jeed put him­self in great danger for this coun­try, which al­lowed him to im­mi­grate here with his fam­ily, said his at­tor­ney. He ac­cepts the ver­dict and won’t find him­self be­fore the court again, he said.

Ma­jeed must reg­is­ter as a sex of­fender, and will be on com­mu­nity su­per­vi­sion for three years af­ter his re­lease. Dur­ing that time, he will only be al­lowed to use the in­ter­net for workre­lated pur­poses and his elec­tronic de­vices will be sub­ject to search by pro­ba­tion of­fi­cials.

He has one month to ap­peal the guilty ver­dict and sen­tence.

BOB BRAWDY Tri-City Her­ald

At­tor­ney Court Will, left, talks with his client Yasir M. Ma­jeed dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing for two felony sex crimes. The Kennewick man was one of the 26 ar­rested in the July 2017 “Net Nanny” sex sting. Watch a video at: tric­i­ty­her­ald.com/video

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