News and Press Releases

Canadian man sentenced to 25 years in prison for running a brothel for pedophiles in thailand

January 31, 2011


Brothel Frequented by United States Citizens, Including New Jersey Resident

NEWARK, N.J. – John Wrenshall, 64, was sentenced today to 300 months in prison for inviting men to travel from around the world to his home in Thailand in order to sexually abuse young boys, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Wrenshall previously pleaded guilty to three counts of the Indictment against him: conspiracy to engage in sex tourism, conspiracy to produce child pornography, and distribution of child pornography. He entered his guilty plea before United States District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh, who also imposed sentence today in Newark federal court.

U.S. Attorney Fishman stated: “John Wrenshall created a place where innocent children were sexually brutalized as a vacation pastime. Children represent what is best in us, and Wrenshall’s monstrous conduct represents the worst. It is fitting that a man who has condemned children to live with unimaginable scars for his pleasure and profit should spend decades of his own life in a prison cell.”

Peter T. Edge, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) stated: “Criminals who prey on children are committing unspeakable acts, causing irreparable harm and robbing the innocent of their innocence. HSI will track down these criminals, wherever they think they can hide, arrest them and bring them to justice.”

According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court:

Wrenshall admitted that from at least as early as January 2000, he arranged trips to his home during which U.S. citizens and others paid him to engage in anal sex, oral sex, and other sexual acts with Thai boys, some as young as four years old. Wrenshall’s customers were allowed to videotape and photograph their abuse. Wrenshall also personally victimized the boys in order to “train” them for his paying customers.

Wrenshall, a Canadian citizen, was indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey in August 2008 after authorities learned that New Jersey resident Wayne Nelson Corliss had traveled to Wrenshall’s home to engage in illegal sexual acts with minor boys. Wrenshall was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport in December 2008 by London’s Metropolitan Police Service, with agents of ICE HSI, and was extradited to the United States in July 2009 to face the New Jersey Indictment.

Corliss, formerly of Union City, New Jersey, was the first of Wrenshall’s clients identified by law enforcement officers. In May 2008, Interpol released a sanitized photograph of a man sexually abusing young Thai boys to media outlets in the United States and abroad, and made a global appeal for information that could identify the offender depicted in the photo. Within 48 hours, and acting on information obtained from individuals who recognized the offender as Corliss, ICE, coordinating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), located and arrested Corliss in Union City, N.J.

The release of Corliss’ photo represented only the second time that Interpol has made such a public appeal to identify a suspected child predator. Interpol and ICE are partners in the Virtual Global Task Force, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies committed to joint, international enforcement efforts designed to keep children safe from sexual predators around the world.

Three of Wrenshall’s U.S. clients – Corliss, Burgess Lee Burgess, and Mitchell Kent Jackson – have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced on sex tourism and related charges. On November 19, 2009, Corliss was sentenced in the District of New Jersey by United States District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. to 20 years in prison. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey referred Burgess and Jackson to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Alabama for prosecution. Each were sentenced by United States District Judge Kristi Dubose to 78 months in prison. CEOS partnered in the prosecution of Corliss and assisted in the Alabama cases.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cavanaugh sentenced Wrenshall to three years of supervised release. In sentencing Wrenshall, Judge Cavanaugh referred to the defendant as a “repeat, dangerous sexual offender.”

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of ICE’s HSI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Peter T. Edge, with the investigation leading to today’s sentence. He also thanked Interpol for its vital role.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Vartan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark. Michael Yoon, former Trial Attorney for CEOS, also prosecuted the case.


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