Counter-Strike Co-Creator Charged With Paying 16-Year-Old For Sex

Police in King County, Washington yesterday charged Counter-Strike co-creator Jess Cliffe, 36, with commercial sexual abuse of a minor, accusing him of paying a 16-year-old girl for sex and recording one sexual encounter against her will.

Screencap via Twitch

Police said they have been investigating this case since May of last year, when they first began talking to the girl, who is identified in the criminal report by her initials, AC. AC told investigators that she had had sex with Cliffe at least three times between April and June of 2017, when she was 16. She said she was paid $US300 ($382) per hour for these encounters.

Cliffe's lawyer, Zachary Wagnild, said in a bail hearing Friday that his client did not know AC was underage. Per Ars Technica, whose reporter was at the hearing, Wagnild confirmed that the two had sex. "Even if the facts are true as claimed, this was a meeting on an adult website," Wagnild said. "He was not looking for underage women and had no idea this woman was underage."

AC also said to investigators that she did not know if Cliffe was aware of her age. Washington state law defines "commercial sexual abuse of a minor" as a crime of providing "anything of value" to a minor in exchange for sex, whether or not the minor consents.

AC told police that Cliffe wanted to record one of their sexual sessions, to which AC said she declined. Then, AC said, Cliffe recorded the encounter regardless. Says the police report: "Despite not wanting him to do so, AC refrained from saying anything else out of fear that she could be harmed or killed based on her small size and accounts of other people who had been violently assaulted during a prostitution date."

In the spring of 2017, police served a warrant to SeekingArrangement.com, the website on which Cliffe and AC had met, and found records of a profile with Cliffe's photo and description. Police also received records from AT&T and Verizon to confirm that Cliffe and AC had communicated.

Cliffe posted bail of $US150,000 ($190,901) and will appear in court again later this month. Valve suspended Cliffe on Friday after news of his arrest broke.


Comments

    The whole age of consent always gets me, here in Australia it's 16.
    So when I hear about cases in the US of someone getting charged for having sex with a minor Iand there 16 I'm like what they were legal.
    But when I hear about someone here sleeping with a 14 year old I'm like Bloody Pedo but it's a grey area in Germany.
    Maybe age of consent laws should just be a guide, as people mature differently.
    Don't know if they should be lowered to Germanys though, but increased to 18 the same age as drinking and smoking probably wouldn't work either.
    I sure as shit think some countries are just backwards with there ages though, I'm looking at you Pedo haven Philippines.

      The French are pretty promiscuous.. Wonder what they think?

      Not all of Australia, it's 17 for SA and TAS.
      And there's also age gap considerations too.

        And butt stuff!

          But stuff is same age now Queensland used to be 18 but now it's 16, changed in 2016. It was discriminatory against homosexuals, and sodomy laws
          ( that state any sexual act that is deemed unnatural i.e oral, anal or bestiality ) that covered anal sex were used to target gay's.

          Last edited 07/02/18 11:36 am

      If it's "just a guide", then it's not really a law, is it? :P Certainly not a very useful / enforceable one, anyway.

      Increasing the age of consent to match the drinking / smoking age will encounter the same problem that already exists with the drinking / smoking age i.e. if kids want to do it, they're going to do it whether they're of legal age or not. Even if the law now is 16 or 17, there are still kids out there having sex younger than that. The law should (and I think it already does in most if not all states) draw a distinction between under-age kids of similar ages having sex with each other versus one significantly older person having sex with somebody under the age of consent.

      Likewise, though, the law also should make allowances for a situation like this where the guy has clearly not gone out looking for somebody under-age, she's presented herself as of legal age, he can quite reasonably claim that a reasonable person would assume she was of legal age, etc. If he's going to get in trouble for that then the spotlight also needs to be shined on the website where he found her for allowing somebody like that to be on there in the first place.

      Pretty hard to make a defence for the filming part after she made it clear she didn't agree to it, though.

        You hit the nail on the head.
        Probably should have said the law should be open to interpretation or common sense, like in this case, she represented herself as 18 but wasn't, the law can't be black and white, poor choice of words on my part.
        I agree that kids/teens will still do it regardless, most of my friends first times were around 14/15.

        On the side note of drinking though there is some interesting arguments around increasing the age to 21. Brain development and such, I haven't read to much into it myself.
        I believe it was once 21 but it was changed due to returning servicemen/women not being able to drink in a RSL, going along with Australian drinking culture it was seen as pretty "shitty" for them to be able to fight and potentially die but can't drink.

        Fuck no. If you're a 35 year old dude trying to bang someone who is just barely legal, you fucking check. To not do so and claim 'oh i thought she was eighteen even though I didn't check' is absolutely not an excuse at that age. I'd buy that from maybe a 20 year old. I'm 34 and i can tell you, there's no chance i'd be hooking up with anyone who looked under 25 without checking fucking ID.

        Dude's a creep. Got caught. Good.

          Disagree. If it was a one-night-stand or random-hookup thing, I'd agree with you. But if he solicited her as an escort through an adult website it would be perfectly reasonable for him to expect that she was, you know, an adult. Also, I haven't dabbled in that world myself, but I don't imagine that asking someone you've solicited as an escort/prostitute for their ID is the norm... I'd assume most escorts would want to keep their true personal details to themselves for privacy and safety's sake?

          To clarify, I have no great concern for what happens to him. Him pressuring her to film their encounter against her will already marks him as a creep in my book. But I think given the circumstances I could believe he truly didn't know she was underage.

    Dayumn. I'd be potentially willing to give him the benefit of the doubt of the regarding his knowledge of her real age, given those circumstances. Having said that, pressuring her into filming the encounter when she declined is an absolute scumbag move.

    Should be cleared of the sex with a minor but charged with the recording. There is an implied understanding of being over 18 when you frequent nightclubs and adult sex websites. Also WTF is a 16 year old doing selling herself for sex? That needs to be looked into.

      At some point personal responsibility enters into it. She would have to have represented to the website that she was 18+ in order to make the profile. Should the website demand an upload of ID documents? Should any punter seeking an arrangement ask to see ID before hooking up? Or should this 16 year old girl know better than to sell herself for sex?

        I guess legally she's still legally a minor and under the age of consent, which means legally she DOESN'T know better. But I think he should be reasonably allowed to assume that anybody on a site like that would be of legal age, too. Even if he did ask for ID, it's not like nobody ever got a fake ID before.

        He should definitely get done for the filming without consent, but it would be pretty harsh to also get him for the under-age part under these circumstances.

    In NSW he'd be done for s72A of the Crimes Act 1900:

    Whosoever knowing a woman or girl to be an idiot or imbecile has or attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of her shall be liable to penal servitude for five years.

    (at least during the 80s)

    But seriously, she would have created a profile that didn't list her age or would have listed an age of 18+, since the site doesn't allow minors to create a profile or for anyone to advertise for underage arrangements. There is no discernable, objective physical difference between 16 and 18 year old girls, so unless she mentioned her real age he should get off on the charge.

    However, filming the sex despite her saying no is the real crime here.

      How do you figure he would be charged with that? Nowhere in the article does it describe the girl as mentally inept.

      Illegal to have sex with girls you think are stupid. Amazing.

        It's worded old fashion but it is to protect people with mental disabilities.

          Still funny to imagine, police patrolling bars looking out for people who seem too dumb to go home with anyone or some such :P

    Did he film it because of the weird fucking USA laws that state hooking is illegal unless you record it?

    She has him between a rock and a hard place based on the law. I wonder if there are any grounds for entrapment? They should both be charged IMO. Her for soliciting as a minor and him as above. But I guess the law comes back to him being a responsible adult.

      She doesn't have him anywhere. Seattle PD have him. He's trying to circumvent prostition laws by saying he was paying for her time not sex. That's probably not going to cut it so they'll both face the relevant prostitution laws. As a minor the law won't be super harsh on her.
      However as an under age prostitute her life probably wasn't fantastic in the first place, and now she's part of a system that will destroy any chance she had of a normal life.

      The police report makes it look like the chance of Jess' video getting out scared her into quitting and going to the police. Before that nothing in the police report indicates that she was out to accomplish anything beyond making money. She didn't create any blackmail material or anything along those lines. She destroyed most of what she had that could prove it was Jess. Jess came to her not the other way around.
      It seems like the only reason any of this came out is because he couldn't resist being a sleaze bag.

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