A Portland man who served a dozen years in prison for sexually abusing a child in California was sentenced Monday to serve 17 more years after using Facebook Messenger to convince a 16-year-old boy to take sexually explicit videos of himself.
Scott Andrew Lawrence, 57, was on supervised release for failing to register as a sex offender in Oregon when he posed online as a woman named Mary and communicated with the teenager from South Dakota, according to prosecutors.
Lawrence obtained the 16-year-old boy’s videos and distributed a graphic image of the boy to two other people, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Sussman said.
Lawrence pleaded guilty to one count each of receiving and distributing child pornography and violating his supervised release conditions from a 2018 conviction for failure to register as a sex offender.
“This is a defendant with a very deep-seated sexual interest in children who is going to require a substantial period of supervision under very close scrutiny,” Sussman said. “Nothing short of a lifetime of supervised release following incarceration is going to do the trick.”
U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones ordered Lawrence to face a life term of supervised release following his 17-year federal prison term.
“We cannot predict at this point what the future holds for you,” Jones said. “Certainly your performance up to now has been abysmal.”
Sussman argued that the lengthy sentence was necessary to protect the public, given Lawrence’s history of sexually abusing children and “his willingness to continue pursuing children even while on federal supervised release.”
“Defendant is a previously convicted sex offender who served a lengthy prison term in California. That did not deter him. Nor did the sex offender treatment he completed following his California sentence,” Sussman said. “Being on federal supervision did not deter him either; defendant committed the new child pornography offenses just three months after starting supervision.”
Both the prosecutor and Lawrence’s lawyer, Francesca Freccero, jointly recommended the judge impose 15-year concurrent sentences on the two counts of child pornography, plus another two years for violating the conditions of his release on a 2018 conviction for failure to register as a sex offender.
According to court records, Lawrence communicated online with the boy he knew was 16. Posing as a woman, he first sent images of a woman’s genitals to the boy, then convinced the boy to videotape himself masturbating and send the videos to Lawrence’s Facebook account in June 2019, the records showed.
On Oct. 24, 2019, investigators raided Lawrence’s home in Southeast Portland with a federal search warrant and seized his cellphone and iPad. They found two video files of the victim, according to court records.
During an interview with investigators, Lawrence admitted he had posed as a woman when communicating online with the 16-year-old, that he had asked for the sexually explicit videos of the boy and shared an image of the boy with two other people on Facebook, according to his plea agreement.
Lawrence’s California state conviction involved sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14. He was convicted in San Diego County and sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2001 and served 12 years before he was paroled in 2013.
Lawrence’s defense lawyer said the 16-year-old boy in the latest case wasn’t “tricked into participating” in the online conversation with Lawrence.
Freccero unsuccessfully argued for five years of supervised release after Lawrence’s prison term, but the judge did adopt her suggestion and recommended to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that Lawrence be placed at the federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia, where a sex offender management program is located.
The FBI investigated the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a national program started by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2006 to combat child sexual abuse and exploitation.
“Seventeen years is a rightfully long sentence for a man who has repeatedly abused children. The victims targeted by Scott Lawrence, however, are the ones who will pay a higher price as they must live with the effects of that exploitation for a lifetime,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon.
— Maxine Bernstein
Email email@example.com; 503-221-8212
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Published at Mon, 29 Mar 2021 17:52:00 +0000