Social network predator will serve six-month jail sentence

She will be relieved that Thursday is over, the mother of an underaged victim lured over the Internet by Eric Morneau told reporters after his sentencing yesterday.

Morneau was accused of using the social networking site Facebook and MSN to lure three underaged girls into explicit conversations, eventually suggesting they meet in person.

Though he only had contact with one victim in person—he went through her till at the grocery store where she worked and introduced himself as the man from the computer—Judge Gale Sinclair made the point before rendering his sentence that all three girls suffered negative impacts from Morneau’s actions.

Morneau was given six months of jail time, two years probation and will be registered as a sex offender for the next 10 years, with his DNA in the national databank.

“The impact on the victims was serious even in this advanced technological age,” said Sinclair, noting one of the girls involved stated she has a new “fear of people” in her victim impact statement.

Now 33 years old with two boys of his own and a young stepdaughter, Morneau was told he could only have contact with his own three children over the Internet, or while employed in paid or voluntary work, once he’s out on probation.

He is currently married to his second wife, having met both his wives over the Internet. He was also sentenced for another crime related to his Internet relationships.

During the course of investigating his activities with the first three underage victims, police discovered Morneau also engaged in a relationship with a 16-year-old girl from Germany in the time period between his two marriages.

Her parents consented to let her visit him in B.C., the court was told, and the pair took sexually explicit photographs during the course of the visit, fitting the legal definition of pornography. Charges related to making and distributing pornography were laid in that case as well.

Sinclair sentenced him to 45 days to be served concurrently with the six-month jail term.

During sentencing, Morneau was said to have complied with the investigation fully, telling officers he “would do anything to stop.”

He told investigators sex was not discussed in his family or in the Christian school he attended growing up.

The judge described him as at a very low risk to re-offend. But Sinclair added: “One of the linchpins of our society is that children must be protected from harm.”

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