According to HSI special agents, Blaine K. Nipp, 36, of Vancouver, recently served as a baby sitter for at least two Vancouver-area families. Some of the images seized from Nipp’s email account are believed to be of children placed in his care. Anyone with knowledge of the man’s unsupervised contact with children should contact HSI at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
The Clark County sex offender registry lists Nipp as a level II sex offender, with previous state convictions for communication with a minor for immoral purposes and sending/bringing child pornography into the state.
The federal charges filed against Nipp Wednesday stem from an ongoing HSI investigation into an overseas photo sharing website often used to trade child pornography. Court documents state that in August 2013, special agents at HSI’s Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va., identified the user account "taste" as a possible distributor of illicit images. Further investigation tied Nipp to the "taste" username and HSI special agents obtained a search warrant for his email account. Among the emails dated between May and August 2013, investigators found images and videos of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Nipp was indicted on three child exploitation counts: production of child pornography; receipt or distribution of child pornography; and possession of child pornography. As a previous offender, he faces enhanced penalties including a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison on the production charge alone. Nipp has been in custody since Jan. 10. At the time of his arrest he was a student at Clark College.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
HSI is investigating this case with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Vancouver Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.