SEATTLE, OCCUPIED DUWAMISH TERRITORY – August 29, 2014
Robert Joe Childs, a rapist and informant for the Seattle Police Department and the FBI, resurfaced last month in Key West, Florida. Court records indicate Childs was arrested on suspicion of committing credit card fraud, and consequently charged with failing to register as a sex offender. He is currently listed as an inmate at Monroe County Jail in Florida, with trial set in October.
Childs is a 38-year-old level-three sex offender convicted of child molestation, rape (twice), and failing to register as a sex offender. Aliases include Robert Vincent, Zechariah Childs, Ismail White, Zech Zelli, A.M. Khan, and “Sarg’nt Yell’r.” Childs was identified by name in reports from the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office.
In May 2011, Childs became an informant for the Seattle Police Department and FBI, entrapping Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, a Muslim man with mental health issues, in a terrorism plot. Childs was paid at least $90,000 for this police work.
The Seattle Times reported on the case:
[U.S. District Judge James] Robart criticized what he called the ‘at-best sloppy’ destruction of potential evidence by an informant — identified as Robert Childs, a five-time convicted sex offender — and Seattle police Detective Samuel DeJesus, who deleted more than 400 text messages from Childs from his cellphone after he’d been told to preserve them.
As for the use of Childs, who was paid more than $90,000 for his services, [U.S. Attorney Jenny] Durkan said, ‘It’s not the saints who can bring us the sinners.’
Childs’s handler, SPD Detective DeJesus, was awarded “Detective of the Year” for his work on the case.
Childs appeared in anarchist and activist circles in June 2012, attending a free food program in the Central District of Seattle.
From a food program volunteer:
Robert Childs first appeared in Seattle organizing spaces at Food For Everyone, a weekly family-friendly community meal and free grocery store in the CD that was organized by some anarchists during spring/summer of 2012. He showed up at some point in June 2012. There had been a fair amount of publicity for this program so it wasn’t exactly a secret (but he did show up prior to the article that was published on the Capitol Hill Times blog). Since it was shortly after the infamous events of May Day 2012, we were naturally curious (but not overly hostile at first). This is the story he gave about how he found FFE (to the best of our recollection): He stated that while he was in prison someone told him about the website Puget Sound Anarchists. He claimed that he saw an event invite for a benefit show for the Wildcat and attended this show (a show like this did take place on May 23rd and he gave a lot of details about it that could have been found on the PSA website). He then claims that people at the show told him about FFE and he decided to check it out.
Honestly, this was all in the first hour we met the guy and we really thought this was hella suspicious. It was too intricate and memorized and frankly pretty convoluted. We filed that away as red flag #1 (didn’t take long).
At the time we were doing some organizing for the No New Juvie campaign and that was a common topic of conversation at FFE. He really used his time in prison as a wedge to get himself involved with folks. He admitted to us that he was a registered sex offender after we spotted his ankle monitor. We tried to remain neutral as he told us the stories behind his convictions (underage girls, statutory rape, unfairly incarcerated repeatedly for violations of parole, yada yada yada). We were sympathetic to this part of his story for obvious reasons, namely being a community dedicated to prison abolition. Even so, we knew he was sketchy as hell.
He continued coming to FFE, and ingratiated himself with some of the organizing partners to the point that he showed up for a couple of planning meetings at a personal residence. During one of the meetings he confessed to us that he wasn’t allowed to be near schools or parks due to his ankle monitor and he wouldn’t be able to do certain things or go certain places without getting into trouble. At this point we just decided to limit his involvement in any organizing projects but we didn’t feel we could tell him he was not welcome at any public events.
A couple of days later he placed a really weird and random call to one of the organizers of FFE, asking where and when he should show up for the next meeting. The organizer was confused by this question, and then Childs proceeded to attempt to get the organizer to say their full legal name (first, middle, and last) while on the phone. The organizer hung up and called another organizer immediately. At this point we were completely sketched out but unclear on what to do.
He showed up to the next FFE (this was early in July 2012) and people were discussing the upcoming No New Juvie march that was to take place on July 9th. One of the main organizers for this campaign was there and talking about it to everyone. About an hour into the event this organizer took one of us aside and said ‘I don’t know what is up with new guy but he just asked me if there is going to be a black bloc at the No New Juvie march.’ At this point the organizers were exasperated and uncomfortable. He was taken aside and challenged on his behavior, including the fact that he was acting like a cop and/or snitch and making people uncomfortable. He was told his presence was not welcomed any longer.
In 2012, Childs joined the street theater protest group, “Salish Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army” (CIRCA), under assumed names.
Childs visited Black Coffee Co-op in June 2013, but was quickly kicked out when he was outed for sexually assaulting a female activist. Childs was already known among local activists as “the Clown Creep” for repeated incidents of sexual harassment. Childs reportedly lived in Seattle aboard a converted school bus and a boat. He was outed as an informant in September. Childs left on his “hippie bus” shortly afterwards. According to a Facebook post, Childs arrived in Key West, Florida, at the end of October.