Fredericton man Don Preston jailed for internet luring, child pornography

2010 08 18


The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, N.B.

A Fredericton man Donald Alexander Preston, caught in a police sting trying to lure a fictitious 14-year-old girl into a sexual encounter was sentenced Tuesday to more than six months in jail for four sex offences.

Preston, 55, of 237 Brookside Dr. has been in custody since his arrest last month.

He previously pleaded guilty to four charges: two counts of luring a child online, on June 23 and June 29; one count of inviting a minor to sexual touching June 23; and a July 2 count of possession of child pornography.

Crown prosecutor Hilary Drain said Preston came to the attention of the city police after a woman reported that Preston had approached her 11-year-old daughter while he was working at a northside store and encouraged her to contact him via email.

With the assistance of the Halifax police’s Internet child exploitation unit, officers queried Preston on Facebook and learned he had a preference for young girls and women who looked young, the court heard Tuesday.

Drain said a city police officer went undercover online as a 14-year-old girl with the help of the exploitation unit.

On June 23, Preston made contact with the fictitious girl online. Drain read excerpts from his emails and chats, which were graphic and showed that he wished she was even younger than 14.

Drain said Preston’s fifth email to the “girl” showed how he was pushing for a face-to-face encounter.

“So when are you coming to Fredericton?” he wrote.

“I don’t want to scare you away… We could go park and talk… I would love to take you back to my apartment and spend some quality time with you… I have a camcorder.”

The police set up a fake encounter between Preston and the “girl” at the Regent Mall on July 2, Drain said.

Online, Preston had told the undercover officer he’d be waiting for her there holding a polar bear.

Preston eventually gave up and went back to his car, where police arrested him. He had a polar bear toy with him and two cellphones.

Police also seized Preston’s computer and found child pornography on it, Drain said, mostly of girls aged 10-14 posing nude or engaged in sexual activity.

Upon his arrest, Preston admitted to his crimes.

Judge Mary Jane Richards said the sentence she would have imposed in the case would be eight months, two months for each count. However, she gave him credit for the 47 days he’d already served in custody prior to Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

That means his total sentence came to six months and 13 days.

The judge placed Preston on probation for three years as well.