Seattle Police have officially charged Counter-Strike co-creator Jess Cliffe with the sexual exploitation of a child. Cliffe is accused of paying a 16-year-old for sex and filming her against her will.
Cliffe was formally charged on Feb. 6, days after he made $150,000 bail on his initial arrest on Jan. 31. The charge is detailed in the police report, where Seattle detectives state they began investigating the case in May 2017. Cliffe is one of two men that solicited the teenager, referred to as AC in the report, for sex through a website called Seeking Arrangement. Cliffe allegedly met with AC at least three times, where AC was paid $300 on each occasion. AC stopped meeting with Cliffe after he recorded her against her will.
“At this point, AC wanted to point out that it was illegal to be in possession of child pornography (in reference to the video he had just taken), but decided against it as to not upset him in addition to the fact that [she] could not be certain that he was aware of her true age of 16 years,” the report said.
Seattle police acquired documents from both Seeking Arrangement and Cliffe’s cell phone provider to confirm his involvement with AC.
Cliffe’s defense attorney, Zachary Wagnild, did not deny Cliffe’s relationship with AC at Cliffe’s bail hearing, according to an Ars Technica reporter, though he did allege that Cliffe was unaware of her age. The judge set Cliffe’s bail at $150,000 and described the Counter-Strike co-creator as a “risk to the community based on these findings.” Cliffe later made bail and was released.
Cliffe is scheduled to appear in court later in February. He remains suspended from work at Valve.