Senior Facebook Engineer Arrested In Underage Sex Sting

Senior Facebook manager Dov Katz was recently arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from an underage girl. On December 21, Katz, who is the head of computer vision at Facebook-owned Oculus, was arrested near Seattle. According to news reports, Katz responded to an ad posted by an undercover detective with the Tukwila Police Department.

Charged for commercial sexual abuse

According to local news channel King 5, the undercover detective was posing as an underage girl on a website offering sex in exchange for money. Katz met the undercover officer on the website Backpage. In a chat, the 38-year-old allegedly suggested that the two should have unprotected sex for $360. Katz reportedly arranged a meeting at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila.

The Tukwila Police Department arrested the Facebook executive when he arrived at the hotel with $600 in cash. According to the charging documents obtained by GeekWire, when the police officer arrested him, he told the officer that he was there to rescue the girl. The executive, who lives in California, was charged with attempted commercial sexual abuse of a minor.

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“Katz is forbidden to have contact with any minors, except in the presence of a responsible adult, according to charging documents,” says GeekWire.

Katz is a key Facebook employee

Katz is an Israeli citizen and will be arraigned on January 5. His bail was set at $125,000, according to the King County jail website. After the arrest, Katz told police officers his phone number, and that number allegedly matched the phone number he used to text the undercover officer.

Facebook acquired Oculus — a leading company in virtual reality technology — in 2014 for around $2 billion. Facebook’s  arrested senior manager played a leading role in the development of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, according to a profile in The Times of Israel. The headset was launched this March. Oculus has a big engineering office in Seattle.

Katz’s arrest is a part of a program run by King County to crack down on sex buyers. Since the launch of Operation Buyer Beware in 2014, the number of arrests of men soliciting sex has gone up, while arrests of prostitutes have dropped. The undercover detectives would get 200 to 250 replies to an ad in just two hours, according to a presentation this year from the county.

As of now, there has been no comment from Facebook on the matter.