“Heartbreaking” is how the online messages between several adolescent girls and a man convicted of internet luring were described in a Salmon Arm courtroom.
Glen McDonald, 25, was sentenced in provincial court on Dec. 3 for a child-luring offence where he communicated online with girls under the age of 16 “for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence” against them, reads the charge.
Crown counsel Alison Buchanan said she had to review a huge volume of online messages as part of the charge approval process.
“It was heartbreaking to read the exchanges between Mr. McDonald and these young women. These young women were trusting, they believed what he said was true,” Buchanan said, noting they had no idea he was feeding the same story to several girls.
The court heard the luring took place in Salmon Arm in 2016 when McDonald was 22 and his four victims were from 13 to 15. Although the girls told him their ages, he told them that age is just a number.
He told them how cute and special they were, he made sexual comments and invitations, he provided marijuana and alcohol on occasion and he asked one girl to send him a nude photo but she didn’t.
Buchanan said McDonald’s actions will affect the young women’s future relationships and how they view men. She noted his conduct was premeditated and persistent, with grooming type behaviour, and could be catastrophic for a victim.
The court heard this was McDonald’s fourth conviction for a sexual offence. It was unusual because the offence occurred before he was sentenced in 2017 to 14 months in jail for two other offences involving adults.
In McDonald’s favour, defence lawyer Glenn Verdurmen said his client has been doing well working at a farmed salmon plant in the Lower Mainland and will have a job there when he gets out of jail.
The court heard that through his earlier incarceration he finished Grade 12, went to a treatment centre, participated in Narcotics Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous, is drug and alcohol-free, feels remorse for his victims, has gained insight into how he hurt them and has a healthy relationship with an appropriately aged female.
On Dec. 3, via a joint submission from Crown and defence, McDonald was sentenced to one year in jail and 24 months’ probation.
Conditions imposed include having no contact or communication with the complainants; having no contact, communication or being alone in the presence of anyone under 16, except if carrying written permission from his parole officer. Other conditions include being restricted on the internet for two years and being on the National Sex Offender Registry for life.
After the sentencing, Judge Dennis Morgan told McDonald he understands he tutored other inmates in math while he was in custody and he hopes he will continue to do that. McDonald said he also hopes so.