Daniel Wnek, 28, of Toronto has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for admittingly trying to lure an 11-year-old American girl into sexual activity and sending her explicit images. His sentence also includes a decade of supervision after his release.
Wnek, a Seneca College-graduate and cook at Toronto's once-popular Caplansky's Deli, was a proud Canadian and Toronto sports fan, often updating his Facebook profile with photos of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Maple Leafs. But beneath Wnek's buoyant exterior lay a troubled and disturbed man who hid a dark secret.
The prosecution argued Wnek should receive a much more severe sentence, asserting the defence's claims that Wnek was intellectually compromised and autistic were not relevant to the case, CP24 reports.
According to the prosecution, Wnek had premeditatively threatened underage girls if they did not comply with his demands on a repeated basis.
"It would be hard to imagine behaviour any more predatory," the prosecution commented. "A lengthy sentence, even if far less than life, is nonetheless necessary to reflect the seriousness of the defendant's conduct, protect the public, deter future crimes, and afford deterrence, both to the defendant and to the community."
Portraying himself as a 14-year-old boy, Wnek engaged in multiple online interactions with a girl who he believed was a 14-year-old girl in Ohio. The girl was actually only 11, police have reported.
The girl's parents filed a complaint to local police that a man had attempted to set up a meeting of a sexual nature with their child. As a result, police informed federal agents, who then took over the investigation by posing as the girl online.
"Numerous sexually graphic conversations occurred between Wnek and the underage female via two different platforms online," the U.S. attorney's office informed the Canadian Press after the arrest was made, "Wnek acknowledged during the conversations his intent to have sex with the underage female and, potentially, her friends."
Wnek was arrested in Orlando, Florida - home of Walt Disney World and "The Most Magical Place on Earth" - in 2017 on charges of coercion, luring, and passing pornographic material to a minor.
In their submissions, the prosecution commented "It is no coincidence that this defendant travelled alone to a theme park, filled with thousands of minors and young children. The defendant's (admitted) pattern of predatory behaviour involving minors, whether resulting in conviction or not, proves that he poses a serious risk of recidivism and danger to minors far and wide, who are easily accessed online in this digital age."
In November, Wnek pleaded guilty at a court in Ohio before Judge Jack Zouhary, who advised mental-health treatment and specialized sex-offender treatment while Wnek remains in custody.
Wnek must register as a sex offender once released from prison, and is prohibited from communicating with minors unless a guardian is present. He was also fined $5,100, and surrendered his iPhone, iPad, and iPod to authorities.