A Portage la Prairie grandfather is headed to jail after admitting he engaged in explicit online chats with a person he thought was a 12-year-old Winnipeg girl.
Donald Zalusky, 66, pleaded guilty to the rare charge of internet luring after getting caught in a sting involving an undercover city police officer.
Zalusky appeared in court Wednesday and was seeking a conditional sentence, which would have allowed him to remain free in the community.
But provincial court Judge Catherine Carlson rejected that bid, saying a six-month stint behind bars is necessary for such a disturbing offence. She also placed Zalusky on two years of supervised probation.
"Mr. Zalusky’s actions are every parent’s worst nightmare," said Carlson. "It’s only good luck it was a police officer… and not an innocent 12-year-old child involved."
Zalusky was arrested in October 2010 at the Portage car dealership where he worked as a salesman. Some of the profane chats – including a picture of his genitalia – originated from his place of work.
Zalusky began chatting with the "girl" weeks earlier. The police officer at the other end of the computer made it clear she was just 12.
"Are you a sweet girl? I like young sweet girls. They’re nice to kiss and play with," Zalusky said just minutes into his very first chat.
"You like to kiss girls my age?" the police officer typed back.
"God yes," Zalusky replied. "12 is the perfect age."
Zalusky was fired immediately upon his arrest. The case stunned his family, including his wife of 48 years, two adult children and five grandchildren. He has no prior criminal involvement and blames his behaviour on abuse of prescription medication for back pain.
"This type of online engagement is only going to increase," said Crown attorney Adam Bergen. "There often are children on the other end of these conversations."