A former Calgary Boy Scout leader and church choir member has
pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an international pedophile ring
that investigators traced from computer records in New Jersey to
John Wrenshall entered his plea Wednesday in a Newark, N.J., court to conspiring to engage in sex tourism and conspiring to produce child pornography, and one count of distributing the materials.
The 63-year-old Wrenshall admitted, in response to a prosecutor's question, to abuse of boys as young as four years old.
a thin, bespectacled, balding man with greyish-white hair, wore a
bright yellow prison jumpsuit and told the judge that he had two
He then acknowledged conspiring to engage in sex tourism and soliciting clients in the U.S. and elsewhere to visit his home in Thailand, where he arranged for them to have sex with prepubescent boys, four to 12 years old.
He admitted to encouraging his clients to photograph, videotape, and share footage of the exploits.
Wrenshall left Calgary for Bangkok more than a decade ago following two convictions on sex-related charges involving young boys.
U.S. Attorney Lee Vartan said that after spending some time in a
Canadian prison, Wrenshall voluntarily left Canada and moved to
Bangkok. Vartan said he was there from as early as January 2000 and
lived there continuously until he was arrested at London's Heathrow
airport in Dec. 2008.
Vartan said authorities discovered
Wrenshall was running a brothel for pedophiles in Thailand after
confiscating computers from Wayne Corliss of Union City, N.J. Wrenshall
was extradited after authorities found correspondence and chatroom
conversations between the two men, and others.
Vartan read from emails that Wrenshall acknowledged he had sent to Corliss.
“ 'I am ready, willing and able to be your guide,' ” Vartan read from the email. “ 'Boys are available here.' ”
The emails outlined the prices for sex
acts on children, and encouraged clients to bring certain items from
the U.S., including “lots of bubble bath,” that Wrenshall said were
hard to buy in Thailand.
Corliss, a small-time actor and former
children's entertainer known for playing Santa Claus, is serving a
20-year sentence in a New Jersey prison. His 2008 arrest was the
culmination of an international manhunt. He admitted travelling to
Thailand three times from 2000 to 2002 to have sex with at least two boys, ages six and nine.
faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a
statutory maximum of 50 years. Sentencing has been set for Aug. 16 in
- With files from The Canadian Press.