Counter-Strike co-creator Jess Cliffe has been charged with commercial sex abuse of a minor, officers in King County, Washington have announced. Authorities accused the video game designer of paying a 16-year-old for intercourse and recording one sexual encounter against the victim's will.
Police confirmed they have been talking to the girl, identified by her initials AC, since May 2017, when she confirmed to having intercourse with Cliffe at least three times between April and June last year. Furthermore, AC, who was 16 at the time, stated that she was paid $300 per hour during these encounters.
However, speaking in a bail hearing on Friday (via Ars Technica), Cliffe's lawyer, Zachary Wagnild, claimed that his client was not aware of AC's age, though did confirm the two had sex.
‘Even if the facts are true as claimed, this was a meeting on an adult website,’ Wagnild said. ‘He was not looking for underage women and had no idea this woman was underage.’
Elsewhere, AC told authorities that she did not know if Cliffe was aware of her age. Nonetheless, the state of Washington defines 'commercial sex abuse of a minor' as a crime that sees 'anything of value' provided to a minor in exchange for sexual intercourse, regardless whether or not the minor consents.
Cliffe was reportedly denied the opportunity to record one encounter by his victim, after which he went ahead and did it anyway.
‘Despite not wanting him to do so, AC refrained from saying anything else out of fear that she could be harmed or killed based on her small size and accounts of other people who had been violently assaulted during a prostitution date,’ the Police report reads.
Valve suspended Cliffe last week once news of his arrest was made public. He posted a bail of $150,000 and is now scheduled to appear in court later this month.