Former Hay River track star admits he tried to extort girls into sending him nude photos
'I don’t think anyone out there can hate me more than I hate myself for what I have done,' said Joel Gordon
The prosecutor is calling for a former Hay River track star to be sent to jail for two years for child luring, distributing child pornography and extortion.
In an agreed statement of facts read out in a Yellowknife courtroom Monday, Joel Nathaniel Gordon admitted that two years ago he used the popular social media platform Snapchat to try to convince underage girls in Hay River to send him nude photos of themselves and have sex with him.
Gordon was 21 years old at the time but posed as a high school student when he initially contacted five girls, aged 13 to 15 years old.
Gordon contacted the girls after getting their Snapchat usernames, which the girls had included on their Instagram accounts.
Once he established contact with them on Snapchat, he sent photos of his penis and asked for nude photos of them, the court heard.
Gordon threatened to kill himself and threatened the girls when they did not comply. When some of them did send photos, he threatened to post them on the internet unless they sent more.
Gordon sent photos of some of the girls to other girls in an attempt to get them to send nude photos. When his victims blocked him, he simply changed his Snapchat account and continued.
'I hate myself for what I have done'
In court Gordon said he is remorseful for what he did.
"I don't think anyone out there can hate me more than I hate myself for what I have done," he told the judge.
Prosecutor Morgan Fane said Gordon once worked as a substitute teacher and track coach at the high school the girls attended in Hay River. He called for Gordon to be sentenced to two years for each of the three charges, but for the sentences to be served concurrently.
Fane said that sentence recognizes that Gordon, by pleading guilty, had saved the girls the stress and anxiety of having to testify in court.
In addition to jail time, Fane recommended that Gordon be on probation for three years following his release.
Gordon's lawyer, Jay Bran, said his client recognizes he needs help and has taken steps to get it, as well as improve his education, while out on bail. Bran said a sentence of 12 to 15 months in jail plus probation is appropriate.
Issues while on bail
Wearing a blue collared shirt, Gordon spent much of the sentencing hearing with his arms crossed and his head bowed. He and his father embraced and wept in court just before he was taken into custody.
Gordon, who had no prior criminal record, was arrested and charged in Hay River on Jan. 21, 2016. He was released on bail eight days later.
To get his release, Gordon agreed, among other things, to reside with his father in Edmonton and to not use any devices with internet access.
Last May he was arrested for breaching his conditions after Edmonton police, attending his father's residence for another reason, saw Gordon using his father's computer. Gordon was sentenced to 33 days in jail.
Last month Gordon was charged with harassing an ex-girlfriend by telephone and breaching his release conditions. Those charges have yet to be dealt with.
Justice Karan Shaner is scheduled to sentence Gordon on the child pornography, child luring and extortion charges Feb. 12.