Former TV3 Winchester reporter Ryan O'Connor is on his way to prison for four years and, after that, he'll spend 10 years under supervised probation.
He will also have to register as a sex offender. Monday, the mother of the victim in this case, a girl from Illinois, testified in court.
The 14-year-old and O'Connor exchanged pictures, but never met in person. Her mother told the court that her daughter tried to kill herself more than once and that she started cutting herself after they got to know each other.
When the sentence was read in court, Ryan O'Connor's mother broke down in tears. Then, O'Connor took off his watch, so he could be handcuffed and taken away immediately.
Commonwealth's Attorney Alex Iden wanted O'Connor locked up for ten years.
“It's important to note that what happens in the dark of the night, in a dark room somewhere where you're on the computer by yourself has ramifications, across the country in this case. And I think some of that message got across with the four years. We'd hoped for more but we're satisfied with what we have,” Iden says.
Before being sentenced, O'Connor spoke in court. He said, "I know it sounds cliche but I'm truly sorry.... The rest of my life I'm going to have to live with what I did ... I felt when I was communicating with (the victim) I tried helping her."
The victim's mother said her daughter was struggling with her parent's divorce and an eating disorder.
The Commonwealth's Attorney said, this showed that O'Connor knew she was vulnerable when he reached out to her.
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