SOUTH BEND — A young man with ties to Pacific County is in jail in Oregon, on suspicion of using social media to arrange sexual encounters with one or more underage girls.
According to a Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office press release, Theron Joseph “Joey” Manley, 18, most recently of Clatskanie, allegedly pressured a 14-year-old girl into providing him with nude pictures of herself, and also allegedly met up with her for sex. Manley may have also used similar tactics to arrange meetings with other 13- to 15-year-old girls in the Seaside or Warrenton areas, and to deliver marijuana to teens in the area, authorities say. The investigation is ongoing, and further charges may be added, the press release said.
Pacific County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Manley on Friday, Jan. 13, while he was at the Pacific County Courthouse. Manley had gone to the courthouse to support an acquaintance who had a hearing, CCSO Det. Ryan Humphrey said on Jan. 19. When Oregon investigators learned that Manley would be in court that day, they asked Pacific County deputies to arrest him on an outstanding Oregon warrant.
Later that day, Manley was extradited to Oregon, and booked into the Clatsop County Jail on three counts of first-degree online sexual corruption and two counts of attempted use of a child in a sexual display. Both are felonies in Oregon. As of Jan. 17, Manley was still in custody, according to Clatsop County Jail records.
CCSO first received a report about Manley on Oct. 31, 2016, when a Clatsop County mother found information on a social networking site that indicated that Manley had asked her 14-year-old daughter for nude images, and made plans to meet her in person. Further investigation revealed that Manley allegedly met the girl in Warrenton for a sexual encounter on at least one occasion in October.
Manley’s social media accounts say that he has also lived in Warrenton, Ore., in recent years. Locals have indicated on social media that Manley spent has also spent time in Pacific County. On Dec. 23, 2016, a Naselle family asked Chinook Observer readers for help locating Manley and a 16-year-old Naselle girl, saying the two had been “out of touch” with their families for three days. Det. Humphreys said he could not comment on most aspects of the investigation, but did acknowledge that the Naselle girl was not part of his inquiry.
I can tell you that she is not a victim of any of the crimes that I am investigating,” Humphrey said. “My understanding is that she has definitely been located.”
Reports of Manley’s arrest posted on Facebook generated heated debate amongst locals, including a number of people who claimed to be his former classmates. While some condemned Manley for his alleged sex offenses, others said they did not believe sex between an 18-year-old and a younger teen was a serious transgression. Some even criticized his alleged victims, suggesting that they had set a “trap” for Manley. A woman claiming to be his mother told his detractors, “He is not a child predator. He is an 18-year-old horny kid that made a mistake. … There are a lot of little girls out there lying about their age and soliciting older boys for things.”
While opinions about sexual encounters between teens and young adults obviously vary, the law is straightforward: any sexual contact between a legal adult and a child under the age of 16 would have been illegal in both Oregon and Washington. Under Oregon law, any male or female under 18 “is considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act”. In Washington, the age of consent is generally 16. However, under certain conditions, it can also be illegal for an adult to have sex with a 16 or 17 year-old.
Humphrey said many of the parents he works with are concerned about how to help their children safely navigate the internet and social media. He recommended visiting www.commonsensemedia.org for more information. Common Sense Media is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that “improves the lives of kids and families by providing independent reviews, age ratings, & other information about all types of media.” The website provides a number of free educational resources, including guides for parents about online safety and privacy, cyberbullying, and how to talk to teens about appropriate use of social media.
Investigators are hoping to learn whether Manley may have had additional alleged victims. Anyone with potentially relevant information should contact CCSO Detective Ryan Humphrey at 503-325-8635 or email@example.com.