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Man who coerced girl into cyber sex acts gets 30 years in prison

David William Barrett was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor, whom he met in an online chatroom organized around sexual themes.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A man who got a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct during online video chats was sentenced this week to 30 years in federal prison.

David William Barrett, 44, met the victim last year through online chatrooms organized around themes and interests of a sexual nature, court records show.

He “persuaded, induced and enticed’’ the South Carolina teen to engage in sexual conduct and display her genitals during video chats, court records show. He also had the victim encourage a 13-year-old family member to do the same.

Investigators say the conduct started in March of last year and continued for several months. Barrett came on police radar after a tip was received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The Michigan Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force then got involved.

Barrett recorded the sexually explicit video chats and attempted to delete the files as police closed in.

Michigan State Police forensic experts were able to recover the deleted files, which led to six state charges in September, including child sexually abusive activity. 

The felony case advanced to Kent County Circuit Court, but was dismissed in mid-November after the federal indictment was filed.

Barrett was indicted for sexual exploitation of a minor, which is punishable by a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison.

Barrett’s lawyer said his client has a history of emotional and physical abuse. He sought a sentence below the 30-year term recommended in a presentence report.

“Mr. Barrett is remorseful for the adverse effects of his actions on the victim,’’ defense attorney James Stevenson Fisher wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “He is remorseful and apologetic for his conduct.’’

In addition to prison, a federal judge in Grand Rapids this week ordered that Barrett pay a special assessment of $5,100.

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