A British man pretending to be Justin Bieber who lured and then recorded children committing sex acts on their web cams was sentenced yesterday to 14 years in prison.
The BBC reports Robert Hunter, 35, pleaded guilty to 15 charges of inciting a child to engage in a sexual activity, some as young as nine. He also pleaded guilty to an additional 14 charges of making indecent photos after 800 videos of youth from Canada, Asia, Europe and Britain were discovered by police at his home in Middlesbrough, England.
"It represents callous, almost sadistic exploitation over a number of years preying on girls' naivety who were undermined by their own behaviour," Judge Peter Bowers said, adding it was possibly the most heinous case of internet child sex abuse he has heard of. "It's a warning to all parents of teenage children of what can be done via the internet.
Hunter was arrested in December, 2012 after a girl living in Tasmania informed police who then used Interpol to locate Hunter's IP address. The man stated he was Bieber in order to get girls to strip naked in front of their web cams, alleging he would become their boyfriend if they stripped for him. Hunter also pretended to be a teenage girl to lure boys into performing sex acts on their web cams. He then used these images to further his quest in luring more teenaged girls.
The Mirror reports Hunter used a myriad of social media sites like Skype and Facebook. He would also always type his commands, never using his voice so as to not give away his true identity. He even had an avatar of Bieber on various social networking sites, continuing his exploitation after being arrested.
Much like the predator who tormented B.C. victim Amanda Todd, Hunter would threaten to post these explicit pictures and videos online if they didn't continue making more. In at least one case, he did just that by posting photos of a 12-year-old girl on Facebook with her contact information. The images caused the girl to slash her arms.
"He was able to persuade some of them that he was the music artist Justin Bieber and he encouraged them to perform sex acts on camera and he recorded many of them," prosecutor Richard Bennett said. Detective Sargent Paul Higgins described Hunter as a "calculating and malicious predator who set out to coerce and bully young girls into exposing themselves over the internet."
"It is terrifying to think what someone can persuade girls to do just by using a picture like that," The Mirror reported one source close to the inquiry saying. "He is every parent's worst nightmare."
Hunter is unfortunately not the only sexual predator to pretend to be Justin Bieber.
A Florida man Christopher Patrick Gunn was arrested last year and charged with online sextortion and cyberstalking after victimizing girls in a half-dozen U.S. states and Ireland over a period of two years.
Also last year, a Toronto man named Lee Moir was charged after posing as Bieber and coaxing a young girl from New Jersey to perform sex acts online. He was arrested after New Jersey authorities contacted the Toronto police, who staged a sting operation with an officer posing as a 12-year-old girl.