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Man guilty of exploiting, abusing girls found online

March 14, 2012 |  2:06 pm

Photo: Joshua David Threlkeld. Credit: Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. / KTLA-TVAn Orange A Riverside County man accused of using MySpace to persuade dozens of teenage girls to send him naked pictures and a few to having sexual contact with him was convicted Tuesday of 79 felonies.

Riverside County jurors took little more than two days to find Joshua David Threlkeld, 34, guilty of exploiting and abusing dozens of young girls across the country from August 2007 to 2009. The jurors heard from 41 of Threlkeld's victims aged 11 to 17. He faces a life prison term upon sentencing next month.

Jurors were told Threlkeld created a fake modeling agency and even posed as a 13-year-old named Sara to trick unwary girls. Posing as Sara, he would tell them she was a model and then would solicit the underage girls to send sexually explicit pictures. He would search MySpace and Facebook for girls, collecting the images they provided. Sometimes he would send girls images of other girls to suggest how they should pose.

With the hope of a modeling contract, nearly 200 girls sent him explicit images from 16 states and even overseas. As is too often the case, Threlkeld then began to set up modeling sessions with a small number of the girls, according to prosecutors.

Threlkeld on Wednesday was convicted of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl for lewd acts. He took the girl to a Palm Springs condominium belonging to one of his friends, supposedly for a photo shoot. But instead of photographing her, he sexually assaulted the girl in a shower. He took other girls to his home in Orange and or to a location in San Jacinto where he snapped photographs of them naked.

The model shots would eventually be his downfall. A classmate of one of the girls in the model shot found out about it and informed her mother, who in turn told the would-be model's mother. Initially two of the girls were reluctant to reveal they posed nude but eventually they admitted it.

One of the girls told how she was taken to a Palm Springs home, and as she posed, Threlkeld told the camera broke, meaning she would not be paid for the work. At that point the girl told authorities that Threlkeld took her to a shower, assaulted her and then paid her $120 before she left.

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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Joshua David Threlkeld. Credit: Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. / KTLA-TV

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