YAKIMA, Wash. — An Ellensburg man whose conviction on child pornography charges was overturned in June by an appeals court is now accused of attempting to solicit sex with a 14-year-old on the internet.
Yakima police said Michael Allen Budd, 39, was arrested in Yakima on Friday when he planned to meet a girl he met on an online chat service. However, he’d actually been communicating with a detective staging an undercover sting, according to a probable- cause affidavit filed by police.
The detective went online Thursday posing as a girl on the chat service, describing her as “14 and lonesome,” the affidavit said. A short time later, a man later responded with messages that quickly became sexual, the affidavit said.
Investigators said the man also commented on the age gap between them, suggesting she call him “daddy” and not kiss him in public.
Authorities said the man agreed to meet the girl in Yakima on Friday, with the intention of having her spend the night at his place.
He was arrested at the rendezvous point on suspicion of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. Yakima County Superior Court Judge Richard Bartheld ordered him released without bail as part of the pretrial release program Monday, but ordered him to meet with court staff every other month, be placed on electronic home monitoring, submit to drug testing and phone court staff at least weekly.
Bartheld also ordered him to have no contact with anyone under 18 without adult supervision.
In 2013, Budd was sentenced to 13 months after being found guilty of possessing child pornography. In June, the charge was dismissed, more than a year after the Spokane-based Division III Court of Appeals found that Grant County sheriff investigators did not tell Budd that he could withdraw his consent to a warrantless search until after they had come inside his home.
The state Supreme Court has ruled that police must advise suspects of their right to refuse a warrantless search before they enter a house.
“Those engaged in hideous conduct are entitled to the protections afforded under our state and federal constitution, including the right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures,” Judge George Fearing wrote in the March 2015 opinion. “We will not manipulate the facts in order to achieve a desired outcome.”
Fearing wrote that without the evidence that was seized in the home, Budd’s conviction could not be supported.
As a result of the dismissal, Budd was released from his responsibility to register as a sex offender, according to the affidavit.