Computer child exploitation, etc. Effingham Superior Court. Before Judge Turner.
The Hames Law Firm, Adam M. Hames, for appellant.
Richard A. Mallard, District Attorney, Benjamin T. Edwards, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.
BOGGS, Judge. Phipps, C. J. and Doyle, P. J., concur.
A jury found Steven Schlesselman guilty of computer child exploitation and attempted child molestation. Schlesselman appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. For reasons that follow, we affirm.
On appeal from a criminal conviction, the defendant no longer enjoys a presumption of innocence, and the evidence must be construed in the light most favorable to the verdict. See Collins v. State, 276 Ga.App. 358 (623 S.E.2d 192) (2005). We do not weigh the evidence or resolve issues of witness credibility, but merely determine whether the jury was authorized to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. See id.
So viewed, the evidence shows that in May 2012, Effingham County Sheriff's Investigator Joe Heath commenced a proactive child internet exploitation investigation. As part of the investigation, he created a profile on motherless.com, a social media website catering to persons with various sexual fantasies and fetishes, many involving children. Describing himself as a 39-year-old single mother trying to make money with her daughter's help, Heath posted the profile under [332 Ga.App. 454] the user name " GeorgiaJenn" and asked other site users to send " her" an e-mail if " you are in Georgia and like young and just wanna hook up."
Several months later, Heath received an e-mail from an individual who asked whether GeorgiaJenn " still needed some financial help." Although the individual used the screen name " Loadedgunaz," the e-mail identified Schlesselman as the sender. Heath responded as GeorgiaJenn, indicating that she was " looking for $150 and offering a 14 year old female to keep [you] company for an afternoon." Loadedgunaz replied that he wanted to spend time with GeorgiaJenn and might be flying into Atlanta in December. GeorgiaJenn e-mailed back, stating: " I am currently seeing someone, but if you were truly interested in seeing my daughter that would be fine." Noting that she lived several hours from Atlanta, she suggested that Loadedgunaz spend the night at her house. In response, Loadedgunaz inquired " what a night of companionship and lodging might go for?" GeorgiaJenn replied:
My boyfriend will not be here ... but you must understand you would be welcome in my house but [I] do not cheat. My daughter likes older men and sees a couple on a regular basis. She is 14, and more than willing to make your stay a pleasant one. 1 nights [sic] lodging will be $175 ... fair?
Loadedgunaz responded: " That sounds more than fair. What guidelines do u have for the overnight visit?" Explaining the " guidelines," GeorgiaJenn stated, " no hitting and no anal ... other than that she is pretty open." Loadedgunaz replied, " [s]ounds good."
Shortly before the scheduled visit, Loadedgunaz provided GeorgiaJenn with a cell phone number and asked her to text him " if we are on." GeorgiaJenn assured him that she and her daughter were " ready for [the] visit." On the appointed day, the two texted back and forth, arranging to meet at a gas station. Heath and several other officers subsequently found Schlesselman at the meeting place. They arrested him and, during a search incident to arrest, discovered $297 in cash on his person. The officers also seized a cell phone from Schlesselman's car. The telephone number assigned to the phone matched the contact number that Loadedgunaz had provided to GeorgiaJenn. A search ...