Skip to main content

Organizer of child sex ring in Thailand sentenced to 25 years

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • John Wrenshall admits to running sex ring involving boys at his Thailand home, officials say
  • Wrenshall pleads guilty to three counts, officials say
  • Some of the boys reportedly were as young as 4
RELATED TOPICS

New York (CNN) -- A Canadian man who admitted to running a sex ring involving young boys at his home in Thailand was sentenced by a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, to 25 years in prison, court officials said Monday.

John Wrenshall pleaded guilty to three counts, including conspiracy to engage in sex tourism, conspiracy to produce child pornography and distribution of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement.

"John Wrenshall created a place where innocent children were sexually brutalized as a vacation pastime," Fishman said. "It is fitting that a man who has condemned children to live with unimaginable scars for his pleasure and profit should spend decades of his own life in a prison cell."

Wrenshall's attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Since January 2000, court authorities said the 64-year-old Canadian arranged illicit trips for Americans and others who paid him to engage in anal sex, oral sex and other sexual acts with Thai boys, according to the statement.

His customers were permitted to videotape and photograph their abuse, the statement said.

Wrenshall also personally victimized the boys in an effort to "train" them for his customers, it added.

Some of the boys were as young as 4.

London's Metropolitan Police arrested Wrenshall at Heathrow Airport in December 2008.

Three of his clients -- Wayne Nelson Corliss, Burgess Lee Burgess and Mitchell Kent Jackson -- already have pleaded guilty and were sentenced on sex tourism and related charges, the statement said.

Corliss was sentenced to 20 years in prison in November 2009, while Burgess and Jackson each received 6½-year sentences.

"Criminals who prey on children are committing unspeakable acts, causing irreparable harm and robbing the innocent of their innocence," said Peter T. Edge, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "(Homeland Security Investigations) will track down these criminals, wherever they think they can hide, arrest them and bring them to justice."

In 2009, 2,888 people were charged with having sex with children under the age of 15 in Thailand, which has become a destination of choice for sex tourists looking to prey on children.

Their targets are often the thousands of homeless and impoverished migrant children who end up working on Thai streets or in bars every year where they fall prey to traffickers and pedophiles, according to the Human Help Network Foundation Thailand, a nongovernmental organization charged with social and economic development in Thailand.

Lawyers.com Lexis Nexis Logo

Law firm search