Vancouver man faces charges related to web chats

Suspect believed he was talking to 12-year-old girl, police said

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

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A 38-year-old Vancouver man is accused of engaging in sexually explicit chats with who he believed was a 12-year-old girl, Vancouver Police said.

Ryan Lown was arrested Thursday by members of the Vancouver Police Digital Evidence Cybercrimes Unit (DECU). Police served a search warrant at the suspect’s job, in the 1700 block of N.E. 94th Street in Hazel Dell, and seized several pieces of evidence.

Lown is charged with one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes, a Class C felony, and sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony. Lown has been booked into the Clark County jail. The investigation is ongoing, Vancouver Police said.

Word of Lown’s alleged misdeeds first reached DECU officials in March when the Renton Police Department contacted them, spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

Lown had allegedly been speaking with a Renton officer since October 2011 in Yahoo! chats, under the belief the officer was a young girl. The chats eventually escalated to a sexual nature, Vancouver Police said, leading their peers in Renton to contact them.