Toronto man jailed for 11 years in U.S. for trying to lure American girl into sex
A judge's gavel. (File photo)
TORONTO -- A Canadian man who admitted to trying to lure an American girl into sexual activity and sent her explicit images has been jailed for 11 years, court files show.
The sentencing of Daniel Wnek, of Toronto, handed down in court in Ohio this week, also includes a decade of supervision after his release.
The prosecution had sought a much stiffer sentence, arguing defence claims that Wnek was intellectually compromised and autistic were not relevant. Instead, they said, Wnek had wilfully and repeatedly threatened underage girls if they didn't go along with his demands.
"It would be hard to imagine behaviour any more predatory," the prosecution said. "A lengthy sentence, even if far less than life, is nonetheless necessary to reflect the seriousness of the defendant's conduct, protect the public, deter future crimes, and afford deterrence, both to the defendant and to the community."
Wnek, 28, of Toronto, was arrested in Orlando, Fla., in November 2017, on charges of coercion, luring, and passing pornographic material to a minor.
According to American authorities, Wnek had portrayed himself as a 14-year-old boy in online interactions with someone he believed to be a 14-year-old girl in Ohio. In fact, police said, the girl was actually only 11.
Her parents complained to local police that a man had been trying to set up a meeting with their child for sexual purposes and police in turn alerted federal agents, who took over the investigation. They began posing as the girl.
"Numerous sexually graphic conversations occurred between Wnek and the underage female via two different platforms online," the U.S. attorney's office said after his arrest. "Wnek acknowledged during the conversations his intent to have sex with the underage female and, potentially, her friends."
In November 2017, Wnek flew to Orlando -- home to Disney World -- where FBI agents arrested him at an area hotel.
"It is no coincidence that this defendant travelled alone to a theme park, filled with thousands of minors and young children," prosecutors said in their submissions. "The defendant's (admitted) pattern of predatory behaviour involving minors, whether resulting in conviction or not, proves that he poses a serious risk of recidivism and danger to minors far and wide, who are easily accessed online in this digital age."
Wnek pleaded guilty in November in United States District Court of the Northern District of Ohio before Judge Jack Zouhary, who recommended Wnek receive mental-health treatment as well as specialized sex-offender treatment in custody.
Once released, Wnek will face numerous conditions for a decade, including registering as a sex offender and having to refrain from association with minors unless their parents or guardians are present.
He also forfeited his iPhone, iPad and iPod and was fined $5,100.