This one was all Mr. A…
He advertised himself on MySpace.com as a “gay Toronto boy” who is a “sweet person” and easy to talk to, but police allege “Schnail” was an online sexual predator who traded child porn and convinced a 13-year-old small-town Ontario girl to perform sex acts on her webcam.
After laying four charges last week against the 23-year-old man, police added four more yesterday, including Internet luring and making child pornography. It appears to be the first case in Canada involving MySpace and an alleged sexual predator.
The short, heavy-set man who police allege is “Schnail” appeared for a bail hearing yesterday at the Old City Hall courthouse. He was granted release if his bail conditions are met and he is to return to court July 20.
Police say they tracked the man down on MySpace, a free website that allows users to customize their own Web pages, with pictures and a “friends list,” links to their profiles and other personal information they wish to post.
In the Toronto case, police allege “Schnail” set up a profile on MySpace and exchanged information with dozens of other users. The 13-year-old girl from southwestern Ontario first made contact with him through a friend, who had the profile on MySpace.
The friend listened to, and liked, some of his musical postings. On his profile, “Schnail” says he plays guitar and loves Nirvana. In the “detail” section of his profile, he says he is “here for dating, serious relationships, friends,” of which he counted 27, according to his online links.
The path that led police to “Schnail” is a confusing and complicated web of make-believe identities and other falsehoods, and is a lesson not just to the young people who use the Internet but also to those who assume their misdeeds will go undetected in cyberspace.
It began after a 45-year-old Montana man named Jimmy Dean Carpenter was sentenced earlier this year to life in prison for sexually abusing three girls, ages 7, 13 and 14.
He also documented his sick exploits, capturing pornographic images and distributing them online.
Police allege one recipient was “Schnail,” who believed he was communicating with a 13-year-old girl when it was actually Carpenter, who sent several images of himself with the 13-year-old in December 2003. In two of the images, she was holding a sign stating: “This is for Schnail,” police say.
Using the email address taken from Carpenter’s computer, investigators with the Toronto sex crimes unit then posed as two adolescent girls, one 12, the other 13, to make contact with “Schnail.”
Police allege he then sent one officer five child pornographic images, that of the Ontario girl, who is now 15, unaware that “Schnail,” who claimed to be 20, was saving the images, said Det. Const. Chris Purchas of the unit’s child exploitation section.
Police allege “Schnail” sent the pictures to coax the officer into posing on a webcam, to show “we should do this … (it’s) normal. Here’s proof.”
Claiming to be gay is another ruse commonly used, Purchas said, since it suggests he is a “safe” contact.
Purchas said the girl’s mother was devastated to find out her daughter had been talked into posing for pictures on her webcam. He said he worries parents don’t fully realize the dangers that exist on the Internet.
Neil David Jaramillo, 23, was arrested last Wednesday at his parents’ home in Toronto.
He was initially charged with luring a child under 14, invitation to sexual touching, possession of child pornography and distributing child pornography. Yesterday he was charged with four additional child-porn offences.