Updated February 16, 2021 - 9:01 pm
A Henderson firefighter and five other men have been arrested by a law enforcement task force targeting the sexual exploitation of children in the Las Vegas Valley.
Detectives with the Child Exploitation Task Force on Feb. 8 arrested Henderson firefighter Eric Whaley, 29, of Henderson, Dulguun Uranbaatar, 32, of Henderson, and Khaing Lin Tun, 34, of Las Vegas, on charges of soliciting a child for prostitution and luring a child for a sex act. On Jan. 30, the same task force arrested Jeremiah Pale, 31, of North Las Vegas, Jose Aguilar, 24, of Las Vegas, and Ryan Goida, 39, of North Las Vegas, on the same felony counts.
An arrest report for Whaley stated that he was taken into custody after a Las Vegas police detective posted advertisements on known prostitution websites while posing as a 15-year-old girl.
The detective then was contacted by a “sex buyer” who responded to the ad on Feb. 8. In text communications, the buyer was told the prostitute was 15.
“The sex buyer continued to engage in conversation with the decoy after the age was revealed,” police wrote.
Arrested at hotel
The man, whom detectives identified as Whaley, was arrested when he showed up to a rendezvous at a local hotel room, police said. Whaley invoked his right to an attorney and did not answer any questions from police.
Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards confirmed that Whaley is a firefighter with the city. She said he was hired on June 5, 2017, and he is now on administrative leave with pay.
The Henderson Professional Fire Fighters IAFF 1883 union issued a statement on the arrest Wednesday night.
“It is important to note that these actions are not reflective of the members of this organization and the good work the men and women of Henderson Professional Fire Fighters do every day to protect our community,” said Dan Pentkowski, president of the union.
Court records do not list an attorney for Whaley.
According to the Transparent Nevada website, Whaley’s total pay for 2019 was $77,927.79 with an additional $38,665.04 in benefits, putting his total compensation for 2019 from the city at $116,592.83.
The five other arrests by the task force followed a nearly identical narrative: An online advertisement was posted offering sex for money with a female prostitute; text conversations unfolded between a male buyer and a detective indicating that the prostitute was a child; then the buyer was arrested in a local hotel room.
In Goida’s case, the decoy asked for a McNuggets Happy Meal from McDonald’s, according to his arrest report.
“This would help identify the sex buyer when they arrived as the person the decoy was communicating with,” police wrote. “When Goida was taken into custody, he was in possession of a McNugget Happy Meal from McDonald’s.”
Of the six arrested, Goida appears to be the only one who has retained an attorney, according to Las Vegas Justice Court records.
Attorney Nicholas Wooldridge of LV Criminal Defense said in a statement that “the time to tell Mr. Goida’s story will be in court. We look forward to helping Ryan clear his name.”
An arrest report for Tun states that he acknowledged showing up at the hotel room to pay for an act of prostitution, but he said he thought the texts indicated that “the date was 15 or 16 miles away when asked about the decoy’s age.”
Uranbaatar denied doing anything wrong. Aguilar told police he thought the decoy “was lying about being 15 years old,” according to his arrest report.
Pale’s arrest report stated that he confessed.
“Pale admitted he does this all the time and knew the decoy was 15 years old,” police said. “Pale admitted he was coming to have sex with the decoy for money and had $100 in his pants pocket.”
In all six cases, a criminal complaint has not been filed by Clark County prosecutors. Courtroom status checks on the filing of criminal complaints are scheduled in March for Pale, Aguilar, Goida and Uranbaatar. April status checks are scheduled for Whaley and Tun.
The Child Exploitation Task Force is a joint law enforcement endeavor consisting of investigators from the FBI, Las Vegas police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the valley.
The arrest of Whaley is the second time a local public employee has been arrested by the task force since December. Tyler Yost, 29, was an assistant principal at Derfelt Elementary School at the time of his Dec. 8 arrest on charges of luring a child to engage in a sex act. That charge is pending against Yost in Las Vegas Justice Court.
In March 2019, a former Las Vegas fire captain, Richard Loughry, 48, pleaded guilty to attempted statutory sexual seduction and soliciting prostitution after having sex with a teen at a fire station. He entered a type of guilty plea that required him to admit only that prosecutors had enough evidence to prove the case to a jury.
Loughry was placed on up to five years’ probation and required to register as a sex offender.