Edmonds man among those arrested in sex sting2 school district employees also taken in during ‘Operation Anvil’
A 60-year-old Edmonds man and two Edmonds School District employees are among eight adult males arrested over the weekend in a sex sting dubbed “Operation Anvil.”
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit, in partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service, arrested eight adult males. The men, who range in age from 26 to 60, all responded to online ads placed by undercover detectives posing as a 15-year-old female.
The Edmonds man was booked for third-degree attempted rape of a child.
One suspect, who published reports identified as Ian Andrew Moore, 30, is a Edmonds School District substitute bus driver. He allegedly sent photographs of himself driving a school bus and showed up to meet undercover detectives, where the sting was taking place, still driving the bus.
There were no kids on the bus, detectives say. He was booked for third-degree attempted rape of a child.
Another suspect, identified as 34-year-old Bryson Candotta of Bothell, admitted to undercover detectives that he was a history teacher at Alderwood Middle School. He was booked for third-degree attempted rape of a child and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
Candotta graduated from Jackson High School in Mill Creek and said on his web page that he is the junior varsity basketball coach at Jackson. He also wrote that he taught for several years at both Cascade and Lynnwood high schools. He taught AP government to 12th-graders and world history to ninth- and 10th-graders.
“It is my goal to take my experience from the high school level to better prepare middle school students for what is ahead,” he wrote on his school web page. “I look forward to an exciting year and my ultimate goal is to prepare every individual to leave my class and be successful in all their endevors (sic). If I can provide any advice and/or help I am always more than willing to do so.”
According to school district spokeswoman Debbie Joyce Jakala, both school district employees have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure in the public sector.
“Given the nature of this information,” Jakala said, “we are deeply concerned and cooperating fully with the Sheriff Office’s investigation, which is still underway. According to the Sheriff’s Office, there is no reason to believe at this point that any of the students were involved in any way in this. It was, unfortunately, bad judgment.”
Jakala said that, allegedly, one of the photos Candotta sent to detectives was taken in his classroom.
“But that photo was just a normal selfie photo,” she said. “But you can tell from the background that it might be his classroom. There’s no reason to believe anything has gone on criminally on our property or involving our students, at this point in time.”
“Protecting our county’s most vulnerable citizens – our children – will always remain our number one public safety priority,” Sheriff Ty Trenary said.
“Getting these predators off our streets makes our communities safer. I’m especially thankful for the partnership and generous support we continue to receive from U.S. Marshals, making this type of operation possible.”
Said Chief Deputy Jacob Green: “The U.S. Marshals Service has a long history of partnering with local law enforcement agencies. Our relationship with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has directly resulted in multiple arrests of sexual predators. Operation Anvil is just another example of what partnering together can accomplish in keeping our communities safer.”
The operation began last Thursday night, Sept. 22, and ended with the last arrest at around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, Sept. 25.
The following suspects also were arrested and booked:
• A 36-year-old Mountlake Terrace man, booked for third-degree attempted rape of a child;
• A 26-year-old Marysville man, booked for third-degree attempted rape of a child;
• A 35-year-old Snohomish man, booked for third-degree attempted rape of a child and commercial sexual abuse of a minor;
• A 51-year-old Everett man, booked for third-degree attempted rape of a child and commercial sexual abuse of a minor; and
• A 27-year-old St. Louis man, booked for third-degree attempted rape of a child.
Detectives continue to process evidence collected in the sting operation, including cell phones and vehicles.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has directly partnered with the U.S. Marshals Service since the creation of the Snohomish County Violent Offender Task Force. Established in 2013, the goal of the force is to coordinate resources with other law enforcement agencies to locate and apprehend the worst of the community’s violent offenders.
In July, the force apprehended John Reed, suspected of the execution-style murder of an Arlington couple, in Mexico.
The Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit investigates child sexual abuse cases and other crimes against children, including sex crimes via computer.