‘Parent’s nightmare’ awaits sentencing

An Alberta man who tried to lure young girls into sexual encounters has been described in court as “a parent’s worst nightmare.”

CALGARY — An Alberta man who tried to lure young girls into sexual encounters has been described in court as “a parent’s worst nightmare.”

The prosecutor is seeking a four-year prison term for James Hepburn, 30, who pleaded guilty to four charges of Internet luring and one count of producing child pornography.

Crown lawyer Nadine Nesbitt said such a term is necessary to ensure impressionable minors are protected from predators like Hepburn.

Nesbitt said the fact Hepburn was able to convince four adolescent girls to either expose and touch themselves on webcams or send him pornographic photos of themselves illustrated their vulnerability.

“It just shows how adolescents are not thinking, they aren’t thinking like adults,” Nesbitt told the judge.

“That’s why they need the court and the law to protect them from adults like Mr. Hepburn from preying upon them.”

She noted a psychiatric assessment on Hepburn indicated he claimed he wasn’t sexually interested in the girls and only wanted to be their friend.

“That is clearly not the case here,” the prosecutor said.

She said Hepburn carried on extensive Internet chats with each victim for the purpose of getting them to provide provocative images of themselves, which they eventually did.

“Mr. Hepburn is willing to take his time, (he) is willing to groom the girls,” Nesbitt said.

“Clearly the purpose is to get pornographic pictures from them.”

But defence lawyer Alex Pringle argued a jail term of less than two years was warranted.

Pringle noted when Hepburn eventually had a meeting with one of the victims he declined to pursue her sexually.

Hepburn convinced one 14-year-old to sneak out of her parents’ home and she slept on the couch and there was no physical contact between them.

Hepburn will be sentenced next week.

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