Counselor gets 17 years in prison; coerced girls online

PORT HURON (AP) - A man who worked at a Port Huron counseling center for decades was sentenced to 17 years in prison for using internet chat rooms to sexually exploit girls while posing as a teenager.

Jackie Woodburn, 65, of Burtchville was charged with seven crimes before pleading guilty to producing child pornography. The government said he coerced girls into certain acts on camera.

"The nature and circumstances of the offense are shocking. ... Woodburn wrote sexually graphic content to these children, attempting to break down barriers between the normal and the taboo," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy said in court filing.

Woodburn was sentenced last Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Paul Borman. The government had sought a 20-year prison term. Prosecutors would have asked for more but said Woodburn's age and health were mitigating factors.

"I've sought God's forgiveness and forgiveness from my family and friends, and I ask that the court show mercy and look at the totality of my life as an adult. I'm very ashamed," Woodburn told the judge.

Attorney Gerry Mason said Woodburn had an "exemplary life for 63 years" before the crime.

Published: Mon, Jan 20, 2020