A high school teacher in Redmond, Washington was among three individuals arrested by the Redmond Police Department following an operation launched in May investigating child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Lance Ray Egli, a 49-year-old psychologist at Monroe High School, was arrested on four counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. Egli is also the special education coordinator. Redmond police detectives booked him into King County Jail on Friday, October 8.
Egli is accused of attempting to engage in sex acts with two undercover police officers that were posing as underage girls, 14 and 15 years of age.
An undercover Redmond police officer fronting as 19-year-old Ellie matched with Egli on the dating app "MeetMe." After the two started talking, "Ellie" informed Egli that she was only 14-years-old in which Egli insisted that age wasn't an issue. The psychology teacher continued to pursue "Ellie" and wanted to date, according to police documents.
On September 9, the detective asked Egli through the messaging app Kik if she was too young for him, which he responded "we can deal with your age." According to court documents, Egli said he could pick up Ellie from school and allegedly said that he hoped "we are still together when you're 18 and we can just be together."
Egli also told "Ellie" that one day she will be his kids stepmom after the detective asked if his kids would like her.
According to police documents, Kik records show that Egli sent just under 400 messages to the detective.
Weeks later, another Redmond police detective made a decoy account fronting as a 15-year-old girl name "Ella." On September 14, Egli asked "Ella" if she liked older men and told her that he was interested in younger girls, court documents state.
According to police records, Egli attempted to meetup with "Ella" and said he wanted to "be lovers." The detective asked the psychologist if her age excited him and he responded "definitely...regardless of age."
On Septmeber 16, Elgi sent "Ella" a photo of his face which led to the police identifying him with help from the Monroe High School resource officer. Redmond police traced the device Egli used to his home address and was arrested early Friday, according to police records.
"Children are at risk of being the victim of online child predators anytime they use social networking apps," Police Chief Darrell Lowe said. "I'm proud of our officers and detectives for their dedication to keeping our children safe. With the increasing number of social networking apps, it is more important than ever for parents of teens to be vigilant about their child’s online activity and to have open conversations about appropriate behaviors."
The two other suspects arrested during the operation include Jeffrey Ralph Brown, 57, and Garrett M. Swanzy, 46. Both were arrested on charges of communicating with minors for immoral purposes.