LANSING, Mich., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney General Mike Cox announced today that Ken Gourlay of Detroit, the Michigan man identified by alleged victim Justin Berry in testimony before the United States House of Representatives' subcommittee investigating the sexual exploitation of children over the Internet in Washington, D.C., this past April, was charged with 20 additional felony counts resulting from Attorney General Cox's continuing investigation of Gourlay's alleged exploitation of young boys over the Internet.
"My office began its own investigation as soon as I learned of Ken Gourlay's involvement with Justin Berry. That initial investigation has now widened to include other victims," Cox said. "I want to commend the strong investigative police work that helped lead to today's charges. My Child and Public Protection Unit will use all the tools in its arsenal to track down, arrest, prosecute, and convict Internet sexual predators.
"This case is a tragedy. What happened to this young victim should never have happened to anyone, let alone a youngster barely into the teen years. No child should ever have their innocence taken away by a sexual predator, no child ever deserves to be harmed and abused, and no child should have to fear the Internet," Cox continued. "Computers and technology can be a great force for good. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, these same tools can be badly misused to put young people at risk and in grave danger."
Michigan Attorney General Investigators arrested Gourlay, 28, on September 7, 2006, on 20 new felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, 3rd Degree, each a 15-year felony, for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy for a period of several months in 2005. The victim was identified by Michigan Attorney General Investigators only after a search warrant was executed on Gourlay's Detroit residence in April 2006.
These 20 new felony charges are related to the sexual assault of a 14- year-old boy in addition to the 10 felony counts that were issued against Gourlay on May 15, 2006, involving the alleged exploitation of Justin Berry.
Those charges included two counts of Enticing a Child to Engage in Sexually Abusive Activity, each a 20-year felony; two counts of Using a Computer to Communicate with Another to Engage in Child Sexually Abusive Activity, each a 20-year felony; one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct, 3rd Degree, a 15-year felony; two counts of Distributing or Promoting Child Sexually Abusive Material, each a seven-year felony; two counts of Using a Computer to Communicate with Another to Distribute Child Sexually Abusive Material of a Minor, a 10-year felony; and one count of Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes, a four-year felony.
These charges were bound over for trial by J. Cedric Simpson, Chief Judge of the 14A District Court, after hearing testimony from Justin Berry and Gourlay's former roommate, among others. A pre-trial is scheduled for September 20, 2006, at 1:30 p.m., before Judge Archie Brown.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Since its restructuring, Cox's Child and Public Protection Unit has arrested 104 Internet sexual predators.
"I strongly encourage parents to visit our Web site, http://www.michigan.gov/ag for tips on safe Internet usage for children. Computers can be a powerful tool for good. But their use needs to be monitored. Parents are still the first, and the best, line of defense for their children's safety and well-being," Cox noted.
Citizens can also report suspected Internet child predators via the Report Internet Abuses Against Children link. Or, call the Child and Public Protection Unit at (313) 456-0180.
Source: Michigan Attorney General