Update: Following his arrest for sexual exploitation of a child, detailed in our original story below, Counter-Strike co-creator Jess Cliffe has been formally charged with the crime of commercial sexual abuse of a minor.
As reported by Ars Technica, Seattle's King County Prosecutor's Office issued the charge on Monday and released this statement of probable cause. Within, Cliffe is alleged to have engaged in multiple instances of sexual contact with a minor, who he is said to have met through a website and paid for sex. Cliffe is also alleged to have recorded one of these instances against the unidentified "juvenile" (aged 16-years-old at the time of the alleged incidents) alleged victim's will.
Police are said to have served warrants to AT&T, Verizon, and SeekingArrangement.com who revealed messages sent between the alleged victim and the accused. As detailed in the above-linked statement, police attended Cliffe's home on January 31 to inform him he was "named in an assault investigation".
Cliffe thereafter met with investigators, and confirmed his use of multiple dating websites, some of which led to paid "arrangements". He denied recognising photos of the alleged victim. He was then shown message logs, and said he "was unable to recall or connect the communications or any other recollections to photographs" of the alleged victim. Cliffe later corroborated details of one of the paid dates, and provided a physical description of the alleged victim as "Caucasian" and "appearing to be 23-years-old".
At the time of writing, Valve has not responded to our request for comment.
Counter-Strike co-creator Jess Cliffe has been arrested in Seattle for sexual exploitation of a child, reports suggest. Valve Corporation, his employer, has suspended his employment until further notice.
As reported by Kiro 7—a local Seattle news outlet—Cliffe was taken into custody in the early hours of Thursday morning, and was not charged with a crime. Kiro 7 suggests Cliffe will attend a bail hearing on Friday afternoon, though Kotaku reports that he was denied bail.
Police did not say if an actual child was harmed, writes Kiro 7, while Valve told Kotaku Cliffe has been suspended while it awaits more information.
A Valve spokesperson told Kotaku: "We are still learning details of what actually happened. Reports suggest he has been arrested for a felony offense. As such we have suspended his employment until we know more."
Cliffe co-created Counter-Strike as a Half-Life mod alongside Minh "Gooseman" Le in 1999. Valve thereafter bought the rights to the FPS, which has since become one of the most popular multiplayer shooters of all time.