I couldn’t help but post this here after turning it in to my bosses at CBC News.ca

It is one of the most bizarre tales I’ve ever come across, yet.

Man guilty of helping girls create porn site

Sentenced to time served in case of wannabe internet stars 14 & 16

Last Updated: Friday, August 6, 2010 | 2:27 PM CST

By James Turner, CBC News

A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to 16 months in jail for helping two teenaged girls create a child pornography website to fulfill their bizarre aspirations of internet fame.

The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to making child pornography during a court hearing Friday.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donald Bryk heard that between April and late October 2002, the man and the victims’ aunt helped the girls, then aged 14 and 16, take nude and semi-nude photos of themselves in their Salter Street home.

The man and the aunt were dating at the time.

‘They wanted to be stars [and] they wanted to advertise themselves and uploaded photos of themselves.’—Crown attorney Terry McComb

The pictures were uploaded to a website the man created for the girls, court was told.

Justice Donald Bryk handed down a 16-month sentence but the man, whose name cannot be published in order to protect the identity of the victims, won’t spend any more time behind bars.

He has already been in continuous custody for about eight months after breaching a previous bail order. He was given double-time credit and was immediately released after the court hearing.

However, for the next three years he will be on supervised probation in the community on a number of strict conditions, including not accessing the internet and not being alone with children under the age of 18.

As well, for the next 20 years, his name will be registered on a federal government sex-offender’s database. He is also not allowed to go near any parks, playgrounds or other places young children may be.

The case has been winding its way through the Manitoba justice system for nearly a decade, delayed by complications and shifting Crown strategies to bring the man to trial.

Basement room became studio

McComb said a locked room in the home’s basement was used for the purpose of conducting photo shoots.

While many of the illegal images seized by police had been taken by the girls, McComb said the man took a number of them himself and also provided the girls with camera equipment.

He also assisted in building the photo studio — known to those involved as “the Gothic Room.” The room was furnished with sex toys and other paraphernalia used as props in a few of the photos.

Court heard the girls, who had had moved in with the aunt from their home community in northern Manitoba, concocted a scheme to pursue fame on the internet by posting explicit photos of themselves.

“They wanted to be stars [and] they wanted to advertise themselves and uploaded photos of themselves,” Crown attorney Terry McComb said.

While not a blood relative, the man had a “de facto role as a parent” in the home, McComb said.

The content on the website was password-protected and the man did not have access to it, despite his role in helping build it, court heard.

It was not stated in court if any of the images were ever offered for sale.

Aunt ran X-rated internet business

The girls may have hatched the scheme based on the income their aunt was making from her own X-rated online venture, court heard.

The woman was running an internet-based pornography business from the home.

“[It was a] web-based business where people would sign on to watch [the woman] and get her to do things,” defence lawyer Saheel Zaman said.

‘It was at the girls’ own urging that my client became involved … they asked him for some technical help.’—Defence lawyer Saheel Zaman

Court heard the woman was earning as much as $1,600 a month from her efforts.

The woman pleaded guilty in January to possession of child pornography for her role in the crime and was given a one-year conditional sentence.

The girls pressured the man into helping them, Zaman said.

“It was at the girls’ own urging that my client became involved … they asked him for some technical help,” he said.

Through tears, the man told Bryk that his ex-girlfriend, the aunt, dominated him.

McComb said the man was co-operative with police and was under the “delusional impression [that] because the girls … could consent to sex, they could consent to making child pornography.”

At the time of the incident, Canada’s age of consent was 14. It has since been raised to 16.

Not instigator: Judge

The man has spent time in solitary confinement in jail for his own safety, court heard.

“I’ve been spit on, slapped around and treated like an animal,” the man said at the hearing.

‘I’ve been spit on, slapped around and treated like an animal.’—Man who helped girls make porn website

“I’m not putting on a show for you. I’d rather be dead right now than go any further in the corrections system.”

In making his sentencing decision, Bryk said he accepted that the man “wasn’t an instigator or leader” in creating the images.

The man’s father, a former police officer who now works with at-risk youth, appeared in court to support his son.

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