Saturday, October 25, 2008

Graeme Pierson - Repeat Sex Offender loses appeal

A federal appeals court recently upheld a pornography conviction against an Oskaloosa resident who tried to coerce what he thought was a teenage girl into posing nude.

Authorities maintain Graeme Pierson, 45, pretended to be a modeling agent, leukemia victim and film star Johnny Depp in Internet chat rooms as part of an elaborate ruse to woo the girl in February and March 2007.

The person, it turned out, wasn’t 14, nor female. The "girl" was really an undercover deputy with the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Department who was conducting investigations under the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Pierson was arrested when he mailed the deputy $27 to buy a Web camera and offered to pay the "girl" to talk her 12- and 13-year-old friends into also posing nude.

At trial, Pierson told jurors he knew the person he was communicating with wasn’t a teenage girl. He said the chat rooms were part of a virtual playground where people indulge their fantasies, according to court records.

Convicted of attempted production of child porn and attempting to induce a child to engage in sexual activities, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Pierson, however, challenged the case. He said evidence wasn’t enough to convict and claimed the court unfairly allowed prosecutors to question him in front of jurors about a prior sex crime conviction.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a reasonable jury could have found Pierson believed the Internet profile belonged to a young girl through transcripts of the conversations. Those included a message from him stating, "If I see you nude on the cam, I will know yur (sic) real."

The court also ruled Pierson opened the door to information about his prior conviction when he told jurors he "wouldn’t ever act" on his attraction to young girls.

Pierson was convicted of fondling a 12-year-old girl in 1987.

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"
.........Sarah Tofte

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