OCEAN PARK — Daniel James Schenk, 53, of Ilwaco, a fourth-grade teacher at Ocean Park Elementary, was arrested at the school by the Washington State Patrol and booked into Pacific County Jail at 11:36 a.m. on Oct. 15.
He faces two charges; first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and first-degree dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Schenk appeared virtually from jail in Pacific County Superior Court on Oct. 16 for a preliminary hearing. Judge Donald Richter determined probable cause existed for Schenk’s arrest, and ordered bail to be set at $100,000. An initial arraignment in the case is set for Nov. 6. He remained in jail as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.
According to Ocean Beach School District Superintendent Amy Huntley, Schenk has worked in the district since 1998. He was originally hired as a paraeducator before receiving his teaching license. Since then, he has mostly been a physical education teacher for the district.
Investigation began after tip
According to the charging affidavit filed in Superior Court on Oct. 16, the Washington State Patrol began its investigation into Schenk after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The report from the center was about a Kik account, with the username of “dandone6_ua7,” who had uploaded 10 images containing depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct to their account in February. Kik is an instant messaging mobile app that is marketed toward teenagers and young adults.
Two Verizon Wireless IP addresses were associated with the Kik account that had uploaded the images, with both returning to the Portland area. Because of this, the tip was initially assigned to authorities in Oregon, before being handed off to Washington authorities after a Verizon subpoena returned with information pertaining to an address in Washington.
WSP Detective Sgt. Jason Greer was assigned to the case and viewed several of the images that had been flagged by Kik, and believed that one of the images depicted the sexual exploitation of a child.
In April, a Pierce County Superior Court judge approved Greer’s search warrants for Kik, Microsoft and Verizon, among others. Greer received a response from Verizon, identifying the subscriber as a Daniel J. Schenk, with an Ilwaco address listed. That information was consistent with the Hotmail email address that was used to initially register the Kik account. Microsoft said the Hotmail account was created in November 2011 by a Dan Schenk, with a 98624 ZIP code — Ilwaco’s designated ZIP code.
In June, Greer received a response from Kik regarding the account, which included an additional 1,420 images and 526 videos — “the large majority being child exploitation material,” the affidavit said. Using Griffeye, a forensic tool that is used by law enforcement agencies to analyze digital media in child sexual abuse investigations, 39 images were flagged as being child abuse material. All of the images and videos came from the “dandone6_ua7” account and were either downloaded to or uploaded from another Kik user.
Greer described three of the videos that were received from Kik, which ranged from 24 to 60 seconds in length. The videos include a girl estimated to be four to six years old being forced to perform oral sex on an adult male, two boys estimated to be 10 to 12 years old performing oral sex on each other, and a girl estimated to be around 16 years old performing oral sex on a girl estimated to be between two and four years old.
In August, a residential search warrant was prepared for the Ilwaco address believed to be where Schenk was living. Officers with the Long Beach Police Department conducted surveillance on the residence in order to establish if Schenk lived at the residence, but advised WSP detectives that Schenk no longer lived there after contacting the residence. Schenk’s son, still living at the residence, advised police that his father still lived in the area, but did not know where.
In late September, LBPD officers observed Schenk driving a pickup truck, and followed him to an Ilwaco residence on U.S. Highway 101, before the truck turned down a private driveway. The same pickup truck was located at the residence over the course of several days, as well as a car that listed Schenk as the registered owner.
On Oct. 14, WSP detectives with the Missing and Exploited Children Task Force contacted the residence, but no one answered the door, although both the pickup truck and car were parked in the driveway. The next morning, at around 8:36 a.m., detectives contacted Schenk in his OPE classroom and placed him under arrest. Along with a white Verizon cell phone, two work laptops were also located in the classroom.
In an email to families on Oct. 15, Huntley said law enforcement officers have said there is no indication that the alleged activity involved OBSD students. She said Schenk has been put on administrative leave and will not be at school, pending the outcome of the investigation.
“While there is no reason to believe that Ocean Beach School District students were involved, the district takes these allegations very seriously,” Huntley said in the email.
The day following the arrest, additional counseling staff was on-hand for OPE students and staff on Friday to provide support. The district urged people to contact Huntley — at 360-642-3739, or email@example.com — and local law enforcement if they have information related to the allegations.