SLO sex case sentence is 2 years

The 52-year-old Michigan man who lured a 16-year-old San Luis Obispo girl he met online into having sex with him in December was sentenced Wednesday to two years in state prison.

Bradford Allen Mitchell received his sentence from Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy after a plea of no contest to three charges relating to sex crimes against the girl.

Mitchell, from Niles, Mich., and the girl met through an online virtual game with avatar characters on the Web site There.com about four to five months before they met, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

They also used the site Skype, which allows people to see each other during phone conversations.

According to prosecutors, Mitchell told investigators he and the girl had planned to get married Dec. 12 and start a family — though he was aware what he was doing was wrong and that he might get arrested because she was a minor.

The teenager’s mother spoke at the hearing Wednesday, saying that her daughter has a developmental disorder that puts her emotional age at about 12 or 13 years old.

“This means that (the girl) has difficulties with relationships and problem-solving as well as challenges at school,” she said.

She called Mitchell’s actions an “atrocious crime against a particularly vulnerable young girl.”

“You cannot imagine the gut-wrenching horror I felt when the police officer told me that my daughter had run away under the compelling and seductive force of Mr. Mitchell,” she said.

The young woman also had been recovering from two traumatic events in her life, her mother said. Three years ago she was the first to find her father dead of a heart attack, her mother said. In addition, the family’s home was vandalized and defaced with threatening and obscene graffiti, and sustained $70,000 worth of repairs, the mother said.

The Tribune is not naming the woman or her daughter because the girl is a minor and the victim of a sex crime.

Mitchell entered his no-contest plea Feb. 3 to statutory rape, oral copulation with a person under 18, and communicating with a minor for the purpose of a sex crime. Five additional charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Mitchell also must register as a sex offender and undergo AIDS testing.

His public defender, Ron Crawford, said his client is remorseful for his actions and the impact they had on the girl and her family.

Crawford said Mitchell has a minor criminal record and that he was a good family man for many years and provided for his children. His past crimes include embezzlement, resisting arrest and illegal use of a radio transmitter.

Mitchell admitted wrongdoing when investigators questioned him about his involvement with the San Luis Obispo girl, according to the DA’s Office.

The mother, in court, said her daughter had gone through therapy, as well as church and family interventions, to gain stability in her life before she met Mitchell.

But she had been withdrawing from home life, church, friends and school when she and Mitchell began using social networking sites on the computer.

“He drew her in with his false promises, comforting words and assurance that he would take all of her troubles away,” the mother said. “He convinced her to leave our home in the middle of the night to meet him at the train station where they would start a new life together.”

Prosecutor Greg Devitt said Mitchell had the opportunity to reconsider his plan and turn around, after coordinating his train trip from Michigan to San Luis Obispo — but he chose to follow through with it.

The girl is currently in a supportive environment away from San Luis Obispo where she’s getting help in dealing with the latest traumatic events in her life, prosecutors said.