A 56-year-old Mount Vernon man was sentenced in Clark County Superior Court on Friday to four years to life in prison for attempting to meet a 12-year-old girl for sex in Vancouver.
Judge Bernard Veljacic sentenced Michael G. Carruth to at least four years behind bars for attempted indecent liberties with force and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
After that time, Carruth be eligible for release, depending on his behavior while incarcerated and his willingness to participate in treatment, Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Smith said after the hearing. Inmates similarly convicted are generally released, Smith said. If released, Carruth will be on probation for the rest of his life.
Carruth was originally charged with second-degree attempted rape of a child and three counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
“I’m sorry. I should have known better,” Carruth told the judge.
The attorneys agreed that the plea deal was adequate due, in part, to a second defendant Smith and the judge characterized as the “mastermind” of the plan that brought Carruth to Vancouver.
William Arnol Young, 38, pleaded guilty in October to three charges: attempted indecent liberties with force, first-degree possession of child pornography and communication with a minor for immoral purposes. Reading from Carruth’s pre-sentence report, judge Veljacic said the victim’s parents were saving most of their ire for Young. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13.
Officers with the Vancouver Police Department Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit arrested Carruth on May 5 as he stood outside the Motel 6 on Northeast Chkalov Drive. Carruth was waiting outside to meet with someone he believed was a girl with whom he had been text messaging for more than a month, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
A girl received a text from Carruth in March, according to the affidavit. A man calling himself Mike said he was 48 and sent the girl a photo of a white man with gray hair, the affidavit said. The girl told her parents about the texts, and they promptly called police. A police sergeant with the cybercrimes unit then texted Carruth, posing as the girl, and the conversation quickly turned sexual, according to the affidavit. The texts between police and Carruth continued for several weeks.
Carruth expressed a desire to travel to Vancouver and have sex with the girl, and he eventually arranged to meet at a motel room, where he was arrested, according to the affidavit.
A search of Carruth’s phone revealed extensive communication with Young until Carruth’s arrest, according to another affidavit of probable cause. Using the messaging app Kik, Young had traded photos of multiple girls, including the victim, fully clothed or in bathing suits, according to the affidavit. Young gave Carruth the girl’s phone number to facilitate sexual activity and was hoping to receive videos or pictures for his own gratification, the affidavit said.
Carruth’s “involvement is in line with other cases we commonly see. … It’s a horrible development is society,” Veljacic said.