Grant County Man Convicted on Child Rape Charges from Sting
A Grant County man has been convicted of child rape and other charges, he's the first convicted suspect from a regional pedophile sting operation. Information was released late Friday, February 24th.
Net Nanny operation results in 7 arrests
According to the Grant County Sheriff's Office:
"Judge Tyson Hill today found Joshua Leonard guilty of one count of attempted rape of a child in the second degree and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes."
He was one of 7 men arrested as part of a sting operation conducted by multiple agencies in Grant County and throughout Eastern WA. According to the GCSO:
"The Net Nanny operation was led by the Washington State Patrol Missing and Exploited Children Task Force. The Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF) is dedicated to protecting the children of Washington State by assisting and investigating missing child and exploitation cases."
Homeland Security and other agencies are also involved. Leonard is the first of the seven suspects to be found guilty, the others are awaiting charges from the sting, which was conducted between August 22-24, 2022.
The other six suspects are facing similar charges. The task force has been sweeping up suspected molesters and pedophiles for several decades, according to the GCSO:
"The MECTF traces its origins to 1999, when the Washington Legislature established a task force on missing and exploited children under the direction of the Chief of the State Patrol, RCW 13.60.110."