Sex predator who terrorized girl on Facebook gets 30-year sentence

Feb 2 2012 - 6:36pm

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Kai Lundstroem Pedersen, convicted sex predator.
Kai Lundstroem Pedersen, convicted sex predator.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A relentless Danish sex predator who used Facebook to stalk and threaten an 11-year-old Missouri girl likely will spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison.

Kai Lundstroem Pedersen, 61, whose own lawyer described his crimes as "horrific" and "unspeakable," was sentenced to 30 years in prison for using multiple aliases and online accounts to extort the Buchanan County girl into making child pornography.

"Based on this sentence, I don't think you're going back to Denmark," U.S. District Judge Greg Kays said as he announced the sentence in Kansas City.

Pedersen committed most of his crimes 4,500 miles away -- in Randers, Denmark, where he worked as a government technology consultant. But when authorities noticed that activity on his Facebook accounts had shifted to a U.S. Internet address, investigators tracked Pedersen to Stony Brook, N.Y., and arrested him in September 2010.

Pedersen had come to the United States on a vacation, apparently unrelated to his campaign of terror against the girl.

A sexual predator invading a daughter's bedroom from thousands of miles away is a parent's worst nightmare, U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said.

"This 61-year-old man tricked and tried to bully an 11-year-old girl," Phillips said. "He waged a relentless campaign of extortion that harassed and terrorized his young victim and will now pay the price."

In his guilty plea in September, Pedersen admitting meeting the girl online in July 2010. After convincing her that he was a 14-year-old boy, Pedersen persuaded the girl to pose nude in front of a web camera.

At his computer in Denmark, he recorded the 25-minute session. Hoping to induce her to pose again, he threatened to post the video online and send it to her friends and family.

"If you don't want me to post everything on the Internet, then write back to me on Facebook," he wrote on Aug. 1, 2010. "Then maybe we can find a way to prevent me from making everything public."

Eventually he sent the images to those she knew and taunted that her lapse in judgment would live online forever.

"Ten years from now you can still be found and enjoyed," Pedersen wrote in one message. "I hope your (boyfriend) doesn't stumble across it."

He also tried to convince the girl that thousands of others were watching her video. He assumed multiple identities and sent her messages threatening rape and murder.

"Fourteen hours after your video was put on the servers it has been downloaded almost 900 times," he wrote in mid-August. "Think of this: If you meet someone in the street and he smiles and maybe giggles a bit, it is not because you look funny -- but maybe he enjoyed your video."

He also contacted another girl to have her pressure the 11-year-old to again pose for him.

The 11-year-old's mother contacted investigators when she learned of her daughter's relationship with Pedersen.

In a statement read to the court, the mother said the family was eager to move on and heal.

"My family has been left shattered because of this horrible, depraved person," she wrote. "None of us will ever be the same. Now is when we get to start picking up the pieces."

Though family members were at the hearing, the girl did not attend.

In his own statement to the judge, Pedersen apologized to the girl, calling his conduct "awful" and "inexcusable."

"I'm not in a position to ask her or her family to forgive me," Pedersen said. "I just hope the memory will fade."

Pedersen's defense lawyer, Ronna Holloman-Hughes, did not try to downplay the horror of intimidating a young girl for the purpose of creating child pornography. But she noted that had he been convicted in Denmark he likely would have only faced a six-year sentence.

The judge retorted that, in his opinion, Denmark did not take this kind of crime seriously enough.

Kays noted that Pedersen's case also presented an unusual opportunity to send a message to those who produce child pornography abroad and beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. Most U.S. child porn cases are against those who view, collect and distribute the material.

"You're unique, Mr. Pedersen, because we don't often get people like you," Kays said.

Pedersen pleaded guilty to extortion and production and transportation of child pornography. The plea agreement called for a sentence of between 15 and 30 years.

In asking for a harsh sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Daly said the effects of Pedersen's conduct will linger far longer than any prison term he serves because he shared the video online.

"This is a crime of perpetuity," Daly said. "It will go on longer than 15 years, longer than 30 years, as long as there is an Internet."

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(c)2012 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

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