Former Hay River track star sentenced to 1.5 years for child porn, luring

Joel Gordon, 23, who coerced underage girls into sending him nude photos on social media, is going to jail for his crimes.

Joel Gordon, 23, pleaded guilty to crimes after coercing underage girls to send nude photos online

Joel Gordon was sentenced to 18 months in jail for distributing child pornography, extortion and child luring. (Joel Gordon/Facebook)

A former high school track star from Hay River, N.W.T., who coerced underage girls into sending him nude photos on social media, has been sentenced to a year and a half in jail for his crimes.

Joel Gordon, 23, pleaded guilty to three offences in November.

On Monday, Gordon sat upright in his seat in a Yellowknife courtroom as N.W.T. Supreme Court Justice Karan Shaner delivered his fate: 18 months in jail for distributing child pornography, 18 months for extortion, and one year for child luring.

Gordon will serve the sentences concurrently, followed by three years of probation after his release.

Summarizing an agreed statement of facts, Shaner said Gordon used the popular social media app Snapchat to contact young girls from Hay River for nude pictures of themselves. He targeted the girls by posing as a high school student and sending them photos of his genitals.

Meeting at a local convenience store to have sex with him was another of Gordon's demands. When victims refused to comply, the young man threatened to kill himself.

One victim received photos of a knife and a gun, the court heard. Gordon wanted the girl to tell him which one he should use to hurt himself.

He also told some victims he would rape them if he ever saw them alone, Shaner said.

All five girls were under the age of 16.

Victim suffers from anxiety

In a victim impact statement read in court, one girl said she now suffers from anxiety and fears Gordon will target her again.

The victim's mother wrote of her devastation and shame that she was not able to protect her child from the harm Gordon caused.

Shaner said she considered Gordon's guilty plea and his expression of remorse when making her sentencing decision.

He previously told court he doesn't think anyone can "hate me more than I hate myself for what I have done."

However, Shaner described the number of underage victims as an aggravating factor — particularly because Gordon acted without regard for the fact they were children, she said.

Listed on national sex offender registry

Gordon will receive 67 days credit off his 18-month sentence for time he's already served in custody.

He is also required to provide a DNA sample, will be listed on the national sex offender registry for 20 years and faces a number of restrictions around his internet usage and ability to attend places where there are children.

The prosecution had previously recommended a sentence of two years less a day, plus three years probation for Gordon, while defence lawyer Jay Bran suggested 12 to 15 months and probation would be appropriate.

Gordon has no prior criminal record.