“THE YOUNGER YOU ARE THE HORNIER I GET.”
KELOWNA –Michael Lynn McDonell, 47, thought he was emailing a 14-year-old boy, but in reality the person he was soliciting sex from was an undercover police officer.
On June 12, 2013, members of the B.C. Integrated Child Exploitation unit replied to an advertisement on Craigslist of a male “looking for under 35”.
“Nothing gets me going on a summer day than getting naked with a hot, young guy,” reads the ad. “The younger you are, the hornier I get.”
Police responded using a cover Yahoo email account. The officer claimed to be a 14-year-old male “curious about sex.”
The reply from McDonell came back within one minute.
“Yes, I am (interested),” he says in the email, “but 14 can get me arrested.”
The two exchanged several more emails that day and at one point McDonell even sent a photograph of his genitals. Police determined the I.P. address of the emails leading them to a residence on Galbraith Court.
On June 25, police were authorized to enter the residence and showed up at McDonell’s door to serve the warrant. He was arrested and taken into custody.
According to court documents, McDonell was “clearly upset”, yet cooperative with police. No evidence of child pornography or inappropriate materials was found, however he admitted to sending the emails and photo.
McDonell claimed to be frustrated with his inability to find men in their 20’s, which was his preference.
A floor manager at Red Robin restaurant in Kelowna, McDonell was sexually assaulted at 12 and has a history of bipolar disorder and substance abuse. He was born in the U.S. and has been in Kelowna for five years.
Judge Anne Wallace acknowledged McDonell showed genuine remorse but said it was clear he understood the law.
“He knew he could get in trouble,” she said. “He should have just said no, but he didn’t.”
Crown was seeking an 18-month custodial sentence with probation for using a computer to lure a child under 18 and providing sexually explicit material to a child.
Wallace called the crime one of opportunity and said that McDonell is “not the predator that many sentenced (to this crime) are.”
“His actions appear not premeditated,” she said. “He appears to be an otherwise responsible citizen.”
McDonell was sentenced to four months in jail for trying to solicit sex from a child. He will also be on probation for three years and his name will be added to the Sexual Offender Information Registration list.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250) 718-0428.