The actions of an Abbotsford man who posed online as a police officer and a teenage girl to befriend several youths were predatory, planned and deliberate, a provincial court judge said today.
Judge Suzanne MacGregor said, for those reasons, Jeffrey Goddard, 21, deserved a sentence of 20 months in prison, minus the eight months he has already served.
Goddard faced a total of 19 charges, but pleaded guilty in December to five – invitation to sexual touching, communicating via a computer to lure a child, impersonating a police officer, and two breach charges.
The charges cover the period from Jan. 1 to Oct. 6, 2010 and relate to Goddard contacting seven or eight teens – all aged 13 to 15 – over the Facebook social networking site.
He often used different personas, including a teenage girl named “Julia Luzak,” to communicate with the youths, mostly boys, and conduct friendships or online relationships.
Goddard would also pose as Julia’s cousin or brother, whom he would identify as a police officer who could provide ride-alongs in a patrol car.
One of the boys he befriended stayed with Goddard for two weeks, during which time Goddard crawled into bed with him at night and, on one occasion, suggested the two take a shower together.
MacGregor said Goddard’s most elaborate ruse was posing as a producer and telling two young longboarders that he was interested in using them in a TV commercial.
During the conclusion of Goddard’s sentencing hearing on Thursday, defence lawyer David Gable said his client’s behaviour could be attributed to his immaturity, insecurities, and struggles with his sexual orientation.
Goddard was reaching out to young people in order to gain “peer acceptance,” Gable said. Goddard’s actions were neither predatory nor random, he added.
The judge disagreed.
“As far as our society is concerned, it is inappropriate for Mr. Goddard, or any other adult, to be imposing their emotional frailties, for whatever reason, on 13- to 15-year-olds,” MacGregor said.
She said Goddard was “hunting for a particular type of victim” and did not know any of the youths until communicating with them online. He befriended them using “deceit and falsehood,” she added.
Gable recommended a sentence of time served, with an additional 35 days so that residency could be set up for Goddard before his release.
MacGregor supported the Crown’s recommendation of a 20-month jail term, plus three years’ probation.
“You have affected many young lives … and have had a profound effect on the community of Abbotsford,” she told Goddard upon sentencing.
Conditions placed upon Goddard include that he take sex offender treatment and maintenance programs, not live with his mother when he is released, and not own or use any electronic devices capable of accessing the Internet.