November 07, 2014 - 11:36 AM
VERNON – A Vernon man who lured girls over the Internet and asked them for nude photos is going to spend the next four years in a federal prison.
David Clayton Willerth, 40, was sentenced in Vernon Supreme Court Thursday on 18 counts, including luring children with a computer and arranging a sexual offense against a child. He pleaded guilty to the charges on Tuesday.
Seven of the original 25 counts against Willerth were stayed, including one count of accessing child pornography, one count of making or publishing child pornography, three counts of invitation to sexual touching under 16, one count of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18, and one count of criminal harassment.
Justice Peter Voith said Willerth created a Facebook profile under a fake name and posed as a modeling agent. He friended numerous girls between the ages of 12 and 16, and made further connections by contacting the friends listed on their profiles.
Willerth told the girls to send him nude photos of themselves and promised they could earn thousands of dollars as models. He even tried to meet with girls offering them cash. Eventually two of the 14-year-old victims told their parents and the RCMP were contacted.
Justice Voith called Willerth “predatory in the truest sense of the word,” pointing out some of the victims were “girls as young as 12, they were children.”
Manacled at the ankles, Willerth sat impassively as Voith read the reasons for sentencing, staring at his fidgeting fingers and occasionally looking up at the judge.
Crown prosecutor Shirley Meldrum had asked the court for a sentence of six to seven years, while defense lawyer David Johnson argued for 3 years in a federal prison so his client could get therapy.
Along with the four years in prison, the judge also added a ten year prohibition from having contact with children under the age of 18, excluding his children and grandchildren.
Willerth, with his orange prison shirt pulled over his head and his wrists and ankles secured with shackles, refused to answer reporter’s questions as he was led from the courthouse by a sheriff to a waiting SUV.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014