“If you want to be a vice cop, cool. Apply to be an officer, go through training, work the streets for a few years, and try to get a transfer to the Vice Unit. But please, oh please, do not take it upon yourself to go out and buy a pair of handcuffs, rent a hotel room, and set up your very own sex sting,” wrote Seattle Police Department’s Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on the SPD Blotter blog.
The blog details what he calls a bizarre “vigilante sex sting” involving a Seattle University student and a man from Kokomo, Ind. who wanted to play cop.
On Dec. 17, the Seattle Police Department responded to a call from a Seattle U student who had claimed he’d been robbed at Hotel 5.
Police say the 19-year-old student responded to a fake Craigslist ad thinking he would have sex with a 14-year-old girl at the hotel room. The ad was posted by 28-year-old Adam C. Blazak, a recent graduate from Indiana University Kokomo.
According to Blazak, he posted the fake ad posing as a young girl in order to catch a pedophile, but charging documents show that Blazak’s intentions went further than just wanting to “get a sick person that wanted to engage in this activity.”
Police say the 19-year-old Seattle U student was pinned to the floor and handcuffed when he showed up to the hotel room. Blazak, posing as a federal agent, told the student he would be willing to let him go if the student had anything to offer him.
The student was confused at the request and told Blazak that he had no money with him nor could he hand over his car because his parents bought it for him. When Blazak (who had already found the student’s wallet to be empty) learned that the student had money in his bank account, he ordered the student to withdraw the money that he had. Together they paid a visit to Bank of America while Blazak held on to the student’s wallet, phone and car keys.
After the student withdrew $191 from his bank account and handed over a pair of sunglasses, Blazak released him back at the hotel but not before prepping the student to answer to anyone “nothing happened” that day.
Soon after, the student called police to the scene to have Blazak arrested.
Blazak has been charged with extortion for the staged sex sting.
But one question still remains: what happens to the student?
The student, who is from Saudi Arabia and studying at Seattle U on student visa, claims he was unfamiliar with the age-of-consent laws in the United States.
So maybe it wasn’t his fault. Maybe the school should have taken measures to go over the dangers of responding to online ads that promise sexual favors. Perhaps there should be a presentation that speaks to the social and cultural differences between other countries and the U.S., such as the age-of-consent laws.
Director of International Student Center Ryan Greene says these are exactly the topics that they go over in their orientations for international students.
“We discuss legal issues with them during our Cultural Perspectives presentation,” said Greene. “We talk about drunk driving with them. We talk about alcohol consumption with them. We talk about a number of other legal issues in U.S. society and how our legal system is very different and the importance of familiarizing yourself with the United States legal system.”
Greene also adds that international students are oriented on websites that are popular in the U.S., such as Yelp, Google, and yes, Craigslist.
“Whenever we discuss Craigslist with students we make sure that they are well aware that, yeah, you might be able to buy used furniture off Craigslist, but using it beyond that is very risky. To get involved in an online request of any sorts can be very risky.”
Seattle U’s orientations are held every quarter prior to when students arrive. Students receive a wide variety of information in several different formats, including small groups with an orientation leader and skits that discuss legal issues like public safety and dating.
“There’s even a panel of international students that we are not actually present for,” Greene said. “We actually leave the room because I think sometimes some students might be nervous to ask questions in front of adults. We try to remove some of that anxiety.”
Moreover, there are handbooks given to each international student that read the same information at the orientations.
“We discuss the legal drinking age. We discuss the legal driving age. And we discuss the differences between a minor and an adult,” Greene said. “From that perspective, I do think we go above and beyond in terms of discussing the laws of the United States, especially laws that are very pertinent to collegial life.”
Either way, what SPD calls a “bizarre case” continues to be investigated.
Chelsea may be reached at [email protected]