Canadian Man Pleads Guilty to Enticement of 14-Year-Old Girl He Met Online
WILMINGTON, Del. - David Gellad, age 44, of Rosemere, Quebec, Canada, pled guilty today to coercion and enticement of a 14-year-old girl he met online, in violation of federal law. Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced the guilty plea following a hearing in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
Gellad, who will be sentenced on January 24, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. by United States District Judge Sue L. Robinson, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years, and a maximum sentence of life, in prison. Gellad also faces a term of supervised release following his prison sentence of five years to life, and will be required to register as a sex offender in any U.S. jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school.
According to statements made and documents filed in court, Gellad began an online relationship with the victim in October 2010. They communicated through the victim’s iPod Touch, using Facebook, AOL Instant Messenger and FFM, a photo sharing application. Between March and June 2011, Gellad traveled from Montreal to Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware on two occasions to meet the victim in person.
In March 2011, Gellad flew from Montreal to Philadelphia International Airport and then met the victim for what she told investigators was a sexual encounter in her Southeastern Pennsylvania residence. In June 2011, Gellad traveled from Montreal to Southeastern Pennsylvania and then drove the victim to a Marriott hotel in Newark, Delaware, where, she told investigators, they engaged in sexual conduct.
Shortly after the June 2011 encounter in Newark, Delaware, the victim’s father found text messages between the two on his daughter’s iPod Touch and notified the Pennsylvania State Police. Following a joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania State Police and the University of Delaware Police Department, Gellad was charged with federal child exploitation crimes in June 2011. On July 23, 2011, Gellad was arrested as he attempted to re-enter the United States at the Highgate Springs Port of Entry, in Swanton, Vermont. He has been detained in federal custody since his arrest.
Following the plea hearing, United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III stated: “Once again, we see someone crossing the forbidden bright line that protects children under the age of 18. As long as there are criminal predators seeking out our children to satisfy their perverse desires, there will be appropriate prison space to house these predators for years. I especially thank the investigating agencies involved in this case and Assistant United States Attorney Ed McAndrew for their successful prosecution of this case.”
“This case has exposed the unsettling behavior of an individual who believed he could cross our nation’s border to victimize children, and return home to his country without being held accountable for his actions. He was wrong,” said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Philadelphia. “HSI will continue to utilize its broad authorities to target those individuals that pose direct threats to our communities.”
University of Delaware Chief of Police Patrick A. Ogden stated, “The outstanding level of collaboration between the various agencies involved and the tireless efforts of the investigators, as well as the prosecution team, were key factors in bringing this sexual predator to justice. I’m hopeful this guilty plea brings some level of wellbeing to the victim and her family.”
This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, the Pennsylvania State Police and the University of Delaware Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edward J. McAndrew.