Seattle police have arrested Jess Cliffe, co-creator of Valve’s incredibly popular Counter-Strike online shooter, over the alleged sexual exploitation of a child. Authorities have not released any further details, and Cliffe has not been charged with any crime at this time.
Seattle ABC affiliate KIRO-7 reports that jail records show Cliffe was booked at 1:17 a.m. into the King County Jail. No bond has been set, and a bail hearing is reportedly taking place later today.
ESPN writes that according to Washington state legislature, sexual exploitation of children "can include elements of commercial sexual abuse of a minor or 'depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit content,' such as creation, distribution or possession of depictions of child pornography."
Cliffe does not have a criminal history. The 36-year-old developer pleaded not guilty after being arrested on assault charges in 2013, which were dismissed later that year by a King County court.
A spokesperson for Valve, where Cliffe has been employed since 2003, told Kotaku that he had been suspended. "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 and co-creator Minh Le began working on Counter-Strike, which was initially developed and released as a Half-Life mod, in 1999. The rights to the game, along with both the developers, were soon acquired by Valve. Le left in 2006 while Cliffe stayed at the company, where he also worked on Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Portal 2. His voice can be heard in Counter-Strike; phrases like “terrorists win” and "the bomb has been planted" are spoken by Cliffe.