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Kirkland sex offender accused of exploiting boys through online gaming

A convicted sex offender has been charged with multiple counts in connection with sexual exploitation after being arrested at his Kirkland apartment building “brimming with children,” according to King County court documents.

Andrew M. Hartung, 34, is accused of luring multiple young boys through gaming sites and coaxing them to send sexually explicit photos of themselves. He was living in an apartment complex in the 10000 block of NE 17th Court in the Juanita neighborhood before his arrest on April 18 by Kirkland police detectives. He now sits in King County jail.

Kirkland detectives believe Hartung was in communication with a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy, both in Colorado, for nearly two years. He is accused of trading gifts for nude photos with one of the boys. Hartung also discussed visiting the boys in Colorado this month before being arrested, the documents continued.

He used the alias “Andrew Jarratt” through texts, Skype and during online gaming sessions with the children. When the 13-year-old’s father questioned him about disturbing texts he found that Jarratt had sent, the boy stated that Jarratt was a 34-year-old gay man from Washington state. The father immediately called the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

The 13-year-old told detectives that Andrew had asked the other boy to touch himself and show him his naked body. He had not seen the act but assumed that was how the other boy obtained a gaming card from Andrew. He also told detectives that Andrew has asked other people, older than 18, to expose themselves over Skype. The 13-year-old also positively identified “Andrew Jarratt” as Hartung, the documents continued.

When detectives interviewed the 12-year-old boy he was “emotional, cried many times and was reluctant to disclose too much information,” according to charging documents.

When initially asked why he was being interviewed, the boy immediately responded “Andrew?” When asked who Andrew was, the boy responded “a needy jerk.” He told detectives that Andrew “was his therapist/best friend until he found out what he was really like.” The boy stated that the two talked about drugs and sex and that “Andrew tries to be a close friend, but in reality, all he wants to do is control [him].” He was planning to meet Andrew this month when he was in Colorado for a gaming convention. He told police that Andrew gave a boy named Jacob, who lives in Wyoming, his credit card number to pay for gaming services and that he tries to buy everyone’s friendship. He also said that the man bought items for a 12-year-old boy from Illinois, the documents continued.

When detectives asked the boy about the topic of sex, the boy began to cry.

“I’ve done some things that I am not proud of. I go to tears because it keeps me from talking. I don’t really want to talk about the subject,”  the boy said.

He told investigators that he had taken pictures of his “no, no square,” which he clarified was the area between his belly button and knees, so Andrew would send him gaming money. Altogether, he sent Andrew eight photos. He also stated that the other Colorado boy told him Andrew asked for photos of his “no, no square” and he declined. During the interview the boy stated that Andrew Jarratt’s Facebook page was that of Andrew Hartung.

A Skype message recovered by investigators shows Hartung and the boy talking about sexually explicit acts, while text messages talk about the explicit photos sent to Hartung in exchange for cigarettes.

Detectives executed a residential search warrant on Hartung’s apartment on April 18 where Kirkland detectives found three DVDs with movies of young nude males, along with photos of naked boys and kid’s toys. Detectives also found several electronic devices that have yet to be searched or were destroyed and are being analyzed. Forensic examinations of electronic devices owned by a victim and the suspect confirm that Hartung was planning to visit the boys and “was discussing graphic sexual plans he had for the victim,” according to court documents.

Hartung has been charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of communications with a minor for immoral purposes and one count of possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the second degree.

The state has requested bail for Hartung be set at $500,000 “because the defendant is unlikely to appear in response to summons and … based on the likelihood the defendant will commit a violent offense.”

Hartung had a previous conviction 12 years ago in Pullman, Wash. for possessing child porn and never registered as a sex offender. If he had registered he would not have been allowed to live in the Juanita apartment complex.

“Since that time, the defendant has groomed children across state lines via the Internet, enticing them with expensive gifts, electronics, money and cigarettes in exchange for photographs [of their privates],” prosecutors state in the documents.

Hartung will be arraigned on May 5 at the King County Courthouse.

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