WINNIPEG— A man who lured young girls over the internet while awaiting sentencing for the same offences told a Winnipeg judge the lengthy delay in his case allowed him to reoffend.
David Thomas Pearson was sentenced Friday to five years and nine months for eight criminal charges, including six counts of luring for posing as a teenage boy online and requesting nude photos from young girls.
The Winnipeg man was charged in 2011 with child luring for communicating with a 15-year-old Las Vegas girl he met online while pretending to be a 16-year-old boy.
He pleaded guilty to that offence in January 2015 but sentencing didn’t happen until May 2016, when he received a two-year sentence.
Pearson told the judge had his case been handled quicker, “I probably wouldn’t be here before you today, because I would’ve been incarcerated and I would’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what I have done as being negative, hearing the victim-impact statements and learned from my wrongs at that point in time.”
While Pearson was out on bail awaiting sentencing, Pearson purchased a laptop and smartphone violating conditions of his bail and continued to pose as a boy on an instant-messaging app called Kik and asked girls to send him nude photos.
His online communications only came to light after a parent noticed Pearson taking cellphone photos of children at Nutimik Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park in August 2015.
RCMP investigators seized his devices, finding zoomed-in photos of children’s genitals while they were playing on the beach, court heard.
Police couldn’t access Pearson’s password-protected Samsung smartphone, but while it was in police possession, messages from young girls kept popping up.
Police found Pearson had been communicating with at least six girls in the United States between the ages of 13 and 16, from 2013 until his arrest in 2015. Some of the girls believed Ethan was their online boyfriend, and four had sent him intimate images.
In a victim-impact statement read Friday by Crown prosecutor Debbie Buors, one of the girls said she dropped out of school and had to stop going to counselling because it became too expensive.
“It made me feel less of myself and that I am just an object,” she wrote.
Pearson said hearing the victim-impact statement was “beneficial” for him. If he’d heard it sooner, he suggested to the judge, he may have “learned from his wrongs.”
“I can say before this all occurred, I wasn’t aware of how the victims would be impacted by my actions,” he told provincial court Judge Tim Killeen.
Pearson has about four years and eight months left to serve, after being given credit for the time he’s already spent in custody. He will be required to register as a sex offender for life.