A Puyallup man arrested during a sting operation to catch people trying to arrange sexual encounters with children was sentenced Friday.
As part of plea negotiations, Charles Drury, 51, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree child molestation, attempted commercial sex abuse of a minor and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff gave him a midrange sentence of five years, seven months in prison.
Deputy prosecutor John Neeb told the judge that Drury sent photos of his genitals to an undercover officer. That was among the more serious behavior of those charged in the sting, Neeb said.
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The two-week operation in December, called Net Nanny, resulted in 10 arrests in Pierce County with help from multiple law enforcement agencies. Detectives posed on the internet as minors or parents selling children for sex, and apprehended would-be clients who showed up for arranged meetings.
Drury is the only person charged as part of the sting who took responsibility for his actions, Neeb said, adding he should be recognized for that.
Defense attorney Bryan Hershman argued there was a very low risk that Drury would reoffend. He said his client had no prior criminal history, and is committed to his wife and children and to seeking treatment.
He said Drury suffered trauma after the death of a brother when he was young, and that he saw atrocities during a long career with the Navy and while working as a civilian contractor in the Middle East.
There’s a correlation, Hershman argued, between post-traumatic stress disorder and sex offenses.
“This in no way defines him,” the attorney said of the charges. “This is not what he’s about.”
Drury said he was sorry for what he’d done, and apologized to his wife.
“You had a very difficult, emotional and traumatic adulthood,” Chushcoff said, “and perhaps this caused you to lose your judgment.”