Yakima police station

Yakima Herald-Republic file

Two convicted child molesters are accused of sharing sexually explicit images of young girls through Facebook following a nearly yearlong investigation by Yakima police.

The investigation began in April, when Yakima police received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that someone in the Yakima area transmitted a sexually explicit image of a young girl to another man in Yakima through the social network, according to a police probable cause affidavit.

Police said the men, a 42-year-old Zillah man and a 40-year-old Yakima man, have convictions for child molestation in Benton and Chelan counties, respectively, the affidavit said. Both men are registered sex offenders, with the 40-year-old man classified as less likely to reoffend.

Using a search warrant, police obtained records of the men’s Facebook activity that indicated the Zillah man sent the Yakima man nine sexually explicit images in the course of 10 minutes, with the records showing the Yakima man saying he liked them, the affidavit said.

Detectives with the YPD’s Special Assault Unit arrested the men Thursday on suspicion of first-degree possession of child pornography.

Yakima County Superior Court Judge Richard Bartheld set bail for the men at $100,000 each during a preliminary appearance hearing Friday.

Editor’s note: The Yakima Herald-Republic does not publish suspects’ names until after charges are filed.Reach Donald W. Meyers at dmeyers@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: donaldwmeyers, or https://www.facebook.com/donaldwmeyersjournalist.

Reach Donald W. Meyers at dmeyers@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: donaldwmeyers, or https://www.facebook.com/donaldwmeyersjournalist.