Extensive child porn collection nets St. John’s man sentence

31-year-old handed more than 2 years in jail

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on August 15, 2014
Christopher Cyril Lunnen was in provincial court in St. John’s Thursday afternoon to be sentenced for distributing child pornography and having thousands of child pornography images. — Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram

The courtroom was silent as  Judge Colin Flynn watched intently a video from a computer screen placed on the bench and only he could see.

He looked stern and then turned away after a few minutes having viewed most of it.

The video was of a toddler being raped. While the sound was turned off, police had said the young girl can be heard screaming and crying unintelligibly.

It was one of 42 videos and 2,118 photos of child pornography that Christopher Cyril Lunnen had in his collection.

“At the end of the day, I’m not eloquent enough a person to express the depth of the guilt and remorse I feel for what I did,” the 31-year-old said Thursday before his sentencing at provincial court in St. John’s.

Minutes later, Flynn sentenced Lunnen to two years and three months in jail. Lunnen, who had been free on bail, was then taken into custody.

“The sentence reflects society’s abhorrence for these types of crimes,” Flynn said.

The video of the toddler was discovered as a result of an FBI undercover investigation into a Florida man, Christopher Alan Burdette, in the summer of 2011.

Burdette — who was later sentenced to 12 years in jail for distributing child porn — had received an email from Lunnen containing the video.

The RNC was contacted and traced the email to Lunnen.

The identity of the girl was unknown.

During a search warrant of Lunnen’s St. John’s apartment, officers seized his computer, cellphone and other digital devices.

Besides the extensive collection of photos and videos, officers also found a number of chat logs of conversations between Lunnen and other unidentified individuals. They and Lunnen would engage in role-playing that would revolve around the imagined sexual abuse of young children.

During one particular conversation, on July 15, 2011, Lunnen pretended that the depicted child was his own.

Lunnen admitted to police that he had been downloading and sending child pornography to unknown persons for the last few years. He said that he was sexually excited by the persons’ reactions, but denied being sexually attracted to children.

He also explained to officers how he obtained the images and showed him the websites and files he used.

In sentencing Lunnen, the judge went along with an agreed recommendation from Crown prosecutor Jeff Summers and defence counsel Jason Edwards.

As part of the sentence, Lunnen will have his name listed on the national sex offenders list for 20 years.

Once he’s out of jail, he will be on a five-year order to stay away from public places where anyone under the age of 16 would be. He is to have no contact or communication with anyone younger than 16 unless there’s another adult present and he’s banned from using the Internet.

 

rmullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt