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Coercing teen into taking explicit photos nets prison term for Turlock man

POSTED May 17, 2011 9:23 p.m.

A Turlock man who posed as a teenage girl on a social networking site has been sentenced to prison for trying to lure a young girl into a sexual relation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Brian Robert Garrett, 26, was sentenced Monday in federal court to 11 years in prison. Garrett was previously convicted of coercing a minor female to engage in criminal sexual activity online, according to the Department of Justice.

In addition to the prison sentence, Garrett was ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution and will have to register as a sex offender. His prison sentence will be followed by 15 years of supervised release and restricted access to computers, the Internet and minors.

In January 2009, Garrett created an account on a social networking site, in which he represented himself as a teenage girl. Through his fictitious persona, Garrett gained the trust of a young Wisconsin girl and eventually introduced her to a male cousin, which was actually himself.

According to the court records, the chats between Garrett and the young girl became sexual in nature. At one point Garrett offered to fly the girl from Wisconsin to California at his own expense. He also convinced her to send him sexually explicit images of herself, according to the court records.

The Department of Justice stated Garrett purchased a new digital camera for the victim and threatened to post sexually explicit images of her on the Internet if she did not send him more sexually explicit pictures of herself.

Garrett continued to communicate with the young girl by phone, e-mail and text messaging, despite having been told by the girl’s mother to stop harassing her daughter, said Department of Justice spokesperson Lauren Horwood.

The issue was turned over to law enforcement and investigators found two additional teen girls in California who had lodged complaints with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline.

According to the Department of Justice, Garrett approached the girls on a social networking site while posing as a 15-year-old boy.

Investigators served a search warrant at Garrett’s home on March 15, 2010 and seized his computer.

The investigators found a peer-to-peer software program to search for images of child pornography and several pornographic images of children were found on his computer.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, Horwood stated. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC mobilizes federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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