Vancouver man, baby sitter faces federal child exploitation allegations

Federal investigators looking for possible victims

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Federal investigators are seeking help in identifying possible victims of a sex offender from Vancouver who faces multiple child exploitation charges in federal court.

Blaine K. Nipp, 36, recently baby-sat for at least two families in the Vancouver area, according to Homeland Security Investigations. Some pornographic images seized from his email account are believed to be of children placed in his care.

Anyone with information about Nipp’s unsupervised contact with children should contact Homeland Security at 360-693-7712.

Nipp was formally charged Wednesday by a federal grand jury with three counts of child exploitation: production of child pornography, receipt or distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

The case follows an ongoing Homeland Security investigation into an overseas photo-sharing website often used to trade child pornography. Special agents at the Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va., tied Nipp to the user name “taste,” a possible distributor of illicit images. In emails sent between May and August, investigators found images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Nipp has been in custody since Jan. 10. He recently was a student at Clark College.

The investigation is part of Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. It was launched in 2003 and has led to more than 10,000 arrests for alleged crimes against children.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Vancouver Police Department are helping Homeland Security investigate this case, which is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.

Nipp is listed as a Level II sex offender. He has prior convictions of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and bringing child pornography into the state. As a previous offender, he faces enhanced penalties, including a possibility of at least 25 years in prison on just the pornography production charge.