Justin Bieber poser gets 35 years for sextortion of young girls
BILOXI, Jan 31, 2013 (The Sun Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A man who posed as pop star Justin Bieber and used a "new kid in town" ruse to sexually exploit young girls has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Three young Biloxi girls were among hundreds, ages 9 to 16, targeted by Christopher Patrick Gunn in a sextortion scheme that used social media and spanned the globe. The Biloxi girls and their parents filed complaints with the Biloxi Police Department, which began to unravel the scheme along with investigators in other states.
Gunn, 32, is from Montgomery, Ala.
For more than two years, Gunn used computers, video chat rooms and other social media outlets to pressure young girls across the United States and around the world to provide him with pornographic pictures of themselves, said U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama in Montgomery.
Authorities said Gunn began using assumed names sometime in 2009 to pose online as a high school student. Girls who didn't know him accepted his "friend" request on Facebook or otherwise responded to his emails.
Once he gained their trust, he obtained intimate information he could threaten to use against them, such as their bra size and sexual history, and asked for a picture of them in their bra. Later, he threatened to expose them to parents, friends and school officials if they didn't provide more sexually explicit pictures.
Biloxi girls were 12, 13
The three girls in Biloxi were 12 and 13 when their families contacted police in 2011. He had told the girls he was Dalton Powers, but the girls soon learned that wasn't his name and he wasn't a teenager.
"They decided they didn't want to play his game anymore," Detective Sgt. Donnie Dobbs told the Sun Herald in March.
Gunn also used other false names -- Tyler Mielke, Jason Lempke, CJ Harper, Dalton Walthers, Daniel Applegate and Daniel Rodgers.
Authorities said Gunn began using the Justin Bieber ruse in fall 2011. Using online video-chat services and pretending to be the "Biebs," he promised them concert tickets, backstage passes and other fan benefits for exposing their breasts to him via Skype and Omegle.
Gunn accepted a plea agreement in August to 15 counts of interstate extortion, seven counts of Internet stalking and two counts of making child pornography.
Girls begged him to stop
At his sentencing Jan. 22, prosecutors described conversations in which girls cried and begged him to leave them alone.
In one incident, a 13-year-old girl threatened to kill herself when Gunn demanded she show him her breasts or he would send her previous pictures to relatives and her school officials.
Gunn responded, "I am sending it now since u won't do what I want," but the girl complied.
In another incident, he coerced a 14-year-old Louisiana girl to make pornographic videos of herself and send them to him.
He contacted girls in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
No mercy shown
Gunn asked the court for mercy, but prosecutors said he didn't show the girls mercy, and the judge agreed, Beck said.
"This long prison sentence serves as a warning to child predators that these crimes will be discovered, will be prosecuted and will be punished severely," Beck said.
Gunn must serve at least 30 years. The federal court system does not offer parole.
Investigating agencies included the Prattville (Ala.) Police Department, Walton County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office, Livingston Parish (La.) Sheriff's Office, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.
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