A Portland man who used social media and bribes of vapes, cannabis and cash to ensnare eight teenage girls in a child sexual abuse scheme was sentenced to 22 years in state prison Friday.
John T. Damron II admitted in court to committing first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, third-degree sodomy, sexual abuse and rape, as well as creating sexually explicit material of the teens, who were as young as 14.
The 36-year-old had been staring down a 278-count indictment following his arrest March 17, 2021, but ultimately pleaded guilty to 27 counts after striking a deal with prosecutors.
In court, Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney J.R. Ujifusa praised the victims for testifying during a grand jury hearing, calling them “extremely brave.”
“They have prevented future harm in our community and held a child predator accountable,” he said.
Damron used the social media apps Snapchat and Instagram to target the teens beginning in 2018, promising them tobacco products, marijuana, alcohol, money and food in exchange for scripted explicit images and videos, according to court documents.
He then lured some of them to hotel rooms, his car or his home in Northeast Portland, where Damron continued the on-camera sexual abuse, the documents say.
In a statement read aloud in court, one of the victims said she suffered hundreds of flashbacks and panic attacks that had left her “consumed by fear.”
“John D. is a manipulative monster,” the statement said. “I do not wish any harm upon him, but I just pray that he never has the opportunity to get out. Because I know that evil will always be inside him.”
Damron’s defense attorney, Stephanie Pollan, said Damron had accepted responsibility after being caught. She said none of the digital files created by him were ever posted on the internet or shared elsewhere.
Damron, who grew up in Kentucky and worked for a web consulting firm prior to his arrest, did not make eye contact with the high schoolers in the courtroom gallery while delivering an apology.
“I ask for forgiveness, and I don’t expect to receive it. But I hope that one day that everyone involved in these incidents can find healing and happiness,” he said.
Multnomah County Circuit Judge Jenna Plank sentenced him to 22 years in prison, with credit only for time served. He will be required to register as a sex offender upon release.
— Zane Sparling; firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-319-7083; @pdxzane
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