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Investigation of firefighter reveals previous arrests for prostitution

A Kirkland firefighter recently involved in a prostitution ring had prior run-ins with the law.

In 2011, he was arrested during an undercover sting operation in Seattle, though the charges filed in 2012 were later dismissed with prejudice after he had met conditions as the result of a dispositional continuance.

Michael Aguilar Varela, 52, was arrested in November 2011 and charged with a misdemeanor for patronizing prostitutes after he contacted two undercover Seattle vice cops thinking they were prostitutes, according to police documents obtained from a public information request by the Reporter. Aguilar Varela has been on paid administrative leave since April.

The Kirkland Fire Department and the city of Kirkland declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation into Aguilar Varela. However, Kirkland Fire Chief Kevin Nalder did state that department personnel did not know about the incident until after the investigation began.

The Kirkland firefighters’ union, IAFF Local No. 2545, did not respond to a request for comment.

One of the undercover cops, who went by the name “Sara,” was contacted by Aguilar Varela after she posted an advertisement on Backpage.com. Aguilar Varela allegedly inquired about her “2 girl special,” which would have involved another undercover vice cop. He allegedly asked about the cost, as well as any “reviews” she had received from previous clients. He told her he wanted to think about it, according to police documents. He later called Sara back and said he wanted to see her but wasn’t certain about the “2 girl special.”

Meeting both undercover cops in a room at an inn on Alaskan Way in Seattle, Aguilar Varela discussed with them his preference for “TNA Board,” another website that posts prostitute ads, according to police documents. He told the undercover cops that Backpage.com is a risky site and TNA had a better reputation.

Aguilar Varela allegedly decided he only wanted one girl, as he claimed to prefer the “girl friend experience.” After choosing one of the girls, police entered the room and arrested him.

According to documents obtained from the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, Aguilar Varela was charged with patronizing a prostitute, which is a misdemeanor under Seattle’s municipal code.

During a pre-trial hearing in April 2012, he was granted a dispositional continuance. As part of the conditions he waived his right to a trial.

The charges were later dismissed with prejudice during a review hearing after he met all the conditions of his probation. Among those conditions were making a $1,000 donation to the Sex Industry Victims Fund, a sex education class, counseling and testing for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and 24 hours of community service. His probationary period lasted from April 2012 to October 2012.

However, according to court documents, the judge ordered a bench warrant for his arrest in May after he failed to appear at a pre-intake interview. He was released but required to post $10,000 bail on the warrant.

Aguilar Varela was granted immunity from prosecution earlier this year in exchange for his cooperation in a case against an alleged gang member. He allegedly contacted a prostitute who was an associate of the alleged gang member. That man threatened to harm Aguilar Varela and a social worker. Ultimately, the gang member pleaded down to a lesser charge and received 11 months in prison.

The Reporter did not name the firefighter in the original story due to the fact that he was considered a victim in the crime. The Reporter is now naming Aguilar Varela as he was charged with a crime in 2012 and is on paid administrative leave from the city pending the outcome of an investigation.

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