Navy Lieutenant Commander Caught in Sting Operation
(VA) – A navy commander has been caught in an online sting operation. Christopher Paul Hetherington is a 33 year old lieutenant commander on the USS ROSS. He is assigned as a weapons officer.
Hetherington used social media to troll for under age girls. in October, he made contact with someone who said she was in the ninth grade and was 14 years old. Hetherington continued engaging with the female for about two months. During that time period he attempted to get her to send him nude pictures. Hetherington also tried to get her to meet him and was graphic in his conversation.
Christopher Hetherington did not know that he was speaking to Special Agent Lisa Carroll. Special Agent Carroll is with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which joined with other agencies to conduct the sting.
Lieutenant Trolled Social Media
Hetherington used social media in his attempt to find a minor to sexually engage with. His original contact was made on Whisper. “He then asked for her Snapchat or Wickr information, and he added her on Snapchat.” The sting operation ensured that Hetherington could not say it was a momentary bad decision. He spent two months trying to convince the “teenager” to engage with him sexually.
Hetherington thought that asking for a picture of the individual was a way to ensure she was not a law enforcement officer. “He asked for pictures, including one of her flipping off the camera to make sure that she was ‘not a cop.’” I have no idea why so many sexual predators think that’s proof someone is not with law enforcement. But it’s a good thing they do. It’s more evidence against them when their case goes before a judge.
Charges Filed, Hetherington Arrested
The affidavit supplied sufficient information to convince a judge to sign an arrest warrant that charged Christopher Hetherington with two federal felonies.
A filed complaint against Hetherington cites two counts: attempted coercion and enticement of a minor and attempted production of child pornography.
Lieutenant Command Christopher Paul Hetherington was arrested on December 21 and booked into the Western Tidewater Regional Jail. The jail inmate lookup does not list any bond information. It does show the arresting agency being USMS (United States Marshals Service) Norfolk.
NCIS Ongoing Investigation of Child Exploitation
In March, the NCIS and FBI raided the Florida home of Adam Lee-Fucci Ferenbach. Ferenbach is “an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy.” The sailor’s cell phone was found to contain “videos of children being sexually abused.” Ferenbach could be sentenced to as much as twenty years in prison for possessing child pornography.
Crimes by Military Personnel
We are all aware that military personnel do commit crimes. None of us have our head stuck in the sand on that subject. That makes it doubly frustrating to see how often information is downplayed or withheld when the person who committed the crime is in the service.
News articles are written about military personnel being arrest, but they frequently have very few details, unlike arrests of regular citizens. And, to be fair, it seems the media is helping to downplay the arrests. I understand that the military doesn’t want the public to realize just how many of their people get arrested, but the media has no reason to be turning their backs on those stories.
The public has the right to know what is happening in an area of our government that consumes so much of our tax dollars. This is not top secret information. It’s not even sensitive information. There is no valid reason that the information isn’t being made public and readily available.