MySpace predator convicted of 79 felonies

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) ? A California man who used the social networking site MySpace to exploit and abuse young girls across the country was convicted Wednesday of dozens of felony charges.

A jury found Joshua David Threlkeld, 34, guilty of 79 felonies and one misdemeanor charge after deliberating a little more than two days in Riverside County Superior Court.

Between 2007 and early 2009, Threlkeld created a fake modeling agency and created an online identity as a 13-year-old model named Sara to lure young girls into sending him nude pictures, prosecutors alleged.

The victims were between the ages of 11 and 17 and jurors heard from 41 of them during the trial, according to the district attorney’s office.

Threlkeld was also convicted of kidnapping a minor for lewd acts because he took a 13-year-old victim to his friend’s condominium in Palm Springs for what he said was a photo shoot and then sexually assaulting the girl in the shower there instead, according to prosecutors.

He took other children to his home in Orange or a location in San Jacinto (hah-SIN’-toh) where he photographed them in the nude.

Threlkeld was discovered when one of the would-be model’s friends reported the pictures to her mother.

Threlkeld faces a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced on April 11.