News has crossed our desk of the arrest of a Counter-Strike co-creator early this Friday morning Eastern time in Seattle, Washington. Jess Cliffe has been booked for the sexual exploitation of a child, but has not been formally charged with the crime as of this writing.
Cliffe was denied bail at his initial booking and is currently awaiting a bail hearing sometime this Friday afternoon. Initial reports from the local police do not indicate whether a child was actually harmed and also specify that Cliffe does not have a criminal history.
In a statement to Kotaku, Valve has confirmed that Cliffe has been suspended. “We are still learning details of what actually happened,” reads the statement. “Reports suggest he has been arrested for a felony offense. As such we have suspended his employment until we know more.”
Along with Minh Le, Cliffe was one of the original crafters of the Counter-Strike mod that was built for Half-Life and later bought by Valve to become a stand-alone game. Cliffe has been an employee at Valve since 2003 and has also done level design for Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, Left4Dead and Portal 2.
We, of course, will reserve judgement until additional facts about the arrest arise, but to say that this news is shocking and worrisome is pretty obviously an understatement. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes on this story as it develops.
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