A Kennewick man said if it weren't for his drug use and problems with his girlfriend, he might not have been online last summer in search of some female company for one night.
William J. Barrett, 48, claims he believed a mother of three just wanted attention and he was going to call police if he discovered she seriously was trying to pimp out her kids.
But Barrett admitted last month that he arrived at the designated Richland apartment with methamphetamine, a glass smoking device, condoms and sex toys.
The meth was to enhance the experience with the girls, ages 6 and 11.
He told a community corrections officer if it weren't for his longtime meth addiction, he would have "handled things completely differently" and might not have even been browsing the Casual Encounters section on Craigslist, according to a presentencing report.
Now, Barrett will spend at least seven years in prison.
The sex conviction carries a maximum sentence of life, with his ultimate release up to a state board reviewing Barrett's time behind bars and acknowledgment of the crime.
He was one of 26 men nabbed in the Tri-Cities by members of the Washington State Patrol's Missing and Exploited Children Task Force in the five-day "Net Nanny Operation."
It targeted people interested in having sexual encounters with minors, with undercover officers posting online ads claiming to be either kids as young as 11 or parents who were offering their children.
Barrett is the second defendant to plead guilty in Benton County Superior Court.
Yuriy L. Gulchuk, 35, was sentenced March 28 to 2 1/2 years in prison for responding to an ad from a fictitious 13-year-old girl. He went to the apartment complex to meet with the girl, but drove away without getting out of his car because he had "bad feelings."
And earlier this month, a jury took just over an hour to convict Thomas A. Swarers of packing a bag with adult items and walking into an apartment intending to have sex with two girls. He faces at least 7 1/2 to 10 years minimum at sentencing May 2.
According to Barrett's presentencing report, he is "scared for what might happen to him" since he has admitted a sex crime and faces an uncertain length of incarceration.
"Mr. Barrett said that he is trying to be confident and that he believes God would not put anything on his plate that he could not handle," the report said. "Mr. Barrett started to get tears in his eyes when he was talking about going to prison as a sex offender. He said he is nervous about what prison that he is going to."
Barrett's criminal history dates to 1987 and includes felony convictions for possessing drugs, burglary and possessing stolen property. He also has a lengthy list of misdemeanors, including criminal trespassing, making a false statement to a public servant and driving with a suspended license.
In this case, he pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree child rape and attempted distribution of meth to a person under 18.
Barrett must undergo an evaluation for substance abuse and follow the recommended treatment.
Gulchuk, 35, considered trying to withdraw his guilty pleas to attempted second-degree child molestation and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
The Kennewick man's wife was expecting their first child on July 9 when he answered an online ad about a young female looking for an older daddy.
Gulchuk said he didn't want to go to jail for having sex with a 13-year-old, and questioned if she actually was an adult since she was in the website's adult section. He asked for a picture of the girl, then agreed to come over, according to court documents.
Gulchuk spent several minutes driving around the complex before leaving. He was followed by undercover police and stopped.
After he was arrested he claimed his phone had been hacked and he did not send the texts, documents said.
In advance of his sentencing, Gulchuk told a community corrections officer that he was looking for a place to live for his growing family and had decided to stop by the apartment. He claims he recognized a couple undercover cars and got bad feelings about the meet-up.
"It wasn't my intent to have an adult conversation with underage person. I'm not that kind of person and never will be in my life or future," Gulchuk wrote in a statement for his presentencing report.
He further said he was falsely accused and was a victim of entrapment made out to be a sex offender.
"I'm an adult grown man who loves children" and hates sex crimes because they hurt children, Gulchuk further wrote. "My whole family knows that I'm not into this, including my lovely, beloved wife."
His 2 1/2-year sentence does not include a mandatory maximum term of life. He is allowed to have contact with his three biological children.