Sex convict faces deportation

Article subtitle: 
An Australian man pleads guilty to using the Internet to lure a Sweet Home teen into a sexual relationship
Article author: 
Greg Bolt
Article publisher: 
The Register Guard
Article date: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Article category: 
Article Body: 

An Australian man is being deported back to his home country after pleading guilty Monday to using the Internet to lure a Sweet Home teenager into a sexual relationship.

Rowan Thomson-Sapstead was sentenced to time already served in the case and will be turned over to immigration authorities for deportation. He entered a plea in U.S. District Court in Eugene to a charge of using a computer to transmit obscene communications to a minor.

Police in Linn County arrested Thomson-Sapstead, 31, in January. According to police, he arrived in Sweet Home in December from Canada, where he was living at the time, to meet up with a 17-year-old he allegedly met online the month before.

The two began a sexual relationship, and at one point traveled to Nevada together before returning to Oregon, according to court records.

Thomson-Sapstead appeared before U.S. District Judge Michael McShane. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Potter called the crime a serious one and said Internet communication has made it easier for adults to prey on vulnerable teenagers.

“It allows people to have access to teenagers they otherwise wouldn’t have,” she said.

Potter said Thomson-­Sapstead will have to register as a sex offender and will be barred from returning to the United States without permission. Although federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of up to 21 months, Potter said the time-served sentence is a just one given the circumstances.

The victim and her family agreed to the sentence, Potter said. But she cautioned Thomson-­Sapstead not to try to communicate with the girl through any means, saying she has no desire to hear from him.

Linn County has agreed to drop charges of luring a minor and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor as part of Thomson-­Sapstead’s agreement to plead guilty to the federal charge.

According to reports, police arrested Thomson-Sapstead after someone reported that an underage girl had been staying with an older man at a motel in Sweet Home. Thomson-Sapstead posted bail, fled the area and was arrested again trying to re-enter Canada from Washington, court documents said.

Thomson-Sapstead had been living in Kelowna, B.C. Potter said he has indicated he wants to return to Canada but it is unknown whether Canada will allow that.