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home : latest news : latest news February 26, 2015

4/6/2012 9:59:00 PM
Bassett gets 329 years for online child sex luring
The Daily Courier

CAMP VERDE - Samuel Bassett, invoking Good Friday at his sentencing, told the court, "I would rather take my chances on a cross than where I am headed."

Bassett, 35, of Lake Montezuma, is one of the so-called Yavapai 6, men who claim Yavapai County Sheriff's Detective Pam Edgerton unfairly targeted them in a sting in which she portrayed a 13-year-old girl named Brenna while conducting sexually-charged chats. A jury convicted him of 40 felonies in a case based on an online child sex sting. Judge Michael Bluff sentenced Bassett Friday to 329 years in prison on the convictions, of which 205.5 years must be served consecutively.

A jury found him guilty on 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, 27 counts of aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation, and two counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation.

Bluff heard testimony about Bassett's character Tuesday, but said he wanted to "consider over the next day or so" what sentence he would impose.

The high number of counts was because he was charged for each individual photo or video clip he emailed to Brenna.

Bassett's defense was built on two key elements: that he was simply "role-playing" when he engaged in the chats with Edgerton and that the prosecution could not prove that the girls in explicit sexual poses in the photos or video clips he was accused of emailing to Brenna were actually underage.

Bassett repeatedly said he did not mean literally any of the things he'd typed in Internet chats, claiming that he believed Brenna was a 19-year-old woman who wanted to role-play being a 13-year-old girl.

He also was steadfast in his statements that the images and video clips on his computer contained no images of minors, since he had obtained them from websites that claimed all the girls in the photos were over 18.

Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Bill Hughes called that assertion "ludicrous" and told the jurors to simply apply their own common sense to what they saw.

The 12-person jury deliberated for about five hours before finding Bassett guilty on Feb. 3.

Both Bassett and his attorney, Harvel Golden, admitted that the judge's sentence is "constrained" by legislative mandates. Golden said the "sentencing guidelines are out of proportion to anything that has occurred in this case."

Bassett, sobbing as he addressed the judge, continued to claim the jury was incorrect and that he was not guilty, instead blaming Edgerton.

He said there was "no victim. I would never have touched little kids ... Detective Edgerton begged me to send her pictures. I told her exactly what she wanted to hear."

But Hughes countered, saying, "Long before he met Detective Edgerton, Bassett had uploaded explicit images to his Facebook account..,"

Bassett was given a 17-year sentence in each of 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He was given the presumptive five years prison term for each of 27 counts of aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation and 3.5 years for each of two offenses of luring a minor for sexual exploitation. Those offenses that occurred at the same time are to be served concurrently to other individual counts.

Much of the remaining time is "flat time," meaning the term cannot be reduced.

Bassett was credited for 375 days already served.

Verde Independent reporter Jon Hutchinson and Daily Courier reporter Scott Orr contributed to this story.

Related Stories:
• Facing years behind bars, defendant tells judge 'I'm not a bad person'
• Jury deliberating in 'Yavapai Six' sex sting case
• Defendant: Online sex chat with girl was 'roleplaying'
• Bassett luring trial: Defense lawyer questions officer who posed as 13-year-old girl in sex sting

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Article comment by: aj fraser

you are all right, it wasn't a true crime, lets set him free so he can hunt real children and when he does sexually attack a real child none of you get to have an opinion because you wanted to set him free. be glad that he was caught before he attacked one of your children. and yes the parents should keep an eye on their kids but police are here for a reason and they do a great job keeping us safe!

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Article comment by: Photos of Girls Under 10 Years Old

Pediatrician Dr. Leslie Quinn concluded her testimony Friday, walking through many of the photos and videos with prosecutor Bill Hughes as she identified many young girls as pre-pubescent, sometimes younger than 10, often under 13 years of age.

The images were uploaded within the context of online chats with an undercover detective.

On March 28, 2011, Edgerton went to Bassett's home with a search warrant and seized a thumb-drive and computer which contained the images Bassett allegedly sent.

Edgerton told the court that, in prior contacts with online predators, she had "never made contact first."

She did so in the case of Bassett because he had already uploaded child porn to Facebook. The social media site had then contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which in turn contacted the Sheriff's Office.

Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Article comment by: Adam Walsh

Regardless of how strongly you feel about the "crime" this man commited, the disproportionate nature of this sentence should frighten everyone. Clearly another example of what's wrong with our criminal justice system.

Posted: Monday, April 09, 2012
Article comment by: Am I Reading This Right?

Just to be clear, this man was convicted for chatting with a police detective and sending her pictures he obtained from legal websites that claimed all pictures were of people over 18? So as far as we know, there were no minors involved at any point in this case?

Not condoning or excusing, but murderers rarely receive sentences even close to this.

Posted: Monday, April 09, 2012
Article comment by: LE Supporter

@An American - I agree with you completly regarding the lack of any sane rationale for the way people are sentenced. But, as a poster already stated, that is the judge, not the police. Many officers are often disgusted with the lame sentences handed out by our judges for crimes far more serious than this one. The sentences in this case are mandated by law unfortunately. It would be great if they did the same for other crimes as well. You make an excellent argument all around and I appreciate the way you present it. While I still think this man is guilty and deserves punishment, you do make me think differently on some points. Thank you.

Posted: Monday, April 09, 2012
Article comment by: an ex American

You amerikans are absolutely nuts. When are you going to get off your duffs and realize your country (that used to be mine, not anymore) is the laughing stock of the planet. Who wants to "go to the USA" these days? I took a communist country, instead,- why? More freedoms. Your constitution is a sham.

Posted: Sunday, April 08, 2012
Article comment by: @ An American

It is not the Detective that gave Bassett 300+ years in prison, it was the judge. The judge was following the law on what he had to give Bassett. As AN AMERICAN if you do not like the way the law is written, then go to your REP and get it changed.

Posted: Sunday, April 08, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Roberts

I find it quite ironic that these massive sentences for attempt child luring were mandated by our..wait for it...GOP-controlled legislature!

Posted: Sunday, April 08, 2012
Article comment by: A face in the crowd.....

If this man would have been faithful to his wife and marriage, this would not have happened. Even if he believed he was talking to someone who was of legal age. He is still guilty of infidelity.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: An American

@ LE Supporter, Okay, I'll concede they did not "create a crime" but they did create an imaginary victom...We have crossed opinions on law enforcement matters before and our opinions differ. That you are a supporter of law enforcement is clear, I on the hand am a supporter of liberty and the rights of free men......I do agree that crimes against children are despicable, but to give a person who never touched an imaginary victom 329 years in prison, while a murder, one who takes the life of an innocent person only gets 16 years, this does not seem fair. Just who is this person who places values on crimes?........Since you defend tactics like these, would you also be in support of giving axe murders new axes? Drive by shooters free handguns and ammo? Counterfitters plates to the printing press? Identity thieves access to everyones personal information? It sounds like a good plan, afterall the police are just trying to get the bad guys off the street, right? .........There are many involved in a crime like the one that was fabricated by Ms. Edgerton, the child, the parents of the child and the predator......The child provided a victom, the parents did not protect the child, the predator took advantage. All of them had a responsability, all will suffer consequence, but only one will be persecuted and prosecuted......... As a parent of a real 13 year old girl, I will not depend on law enforcement to keep a predator away from my child, that is my job! I only hope that lawmakers will not continue to impede my ability to protect myself and my family.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: Coyote Contraire™

I was thinking of ripping off a pack of Teriyaki jerky from the Circle K out on Girlie Street. Ruh-Roh... did I just rat myself out? Did I have the intention to commit or was I just messing around with the idea? Is there a difference anymore?

I had an econ professor whose PHD thesis was about crime and the economy. He told us the competent criminals never went to jail... ever. He said the facilities were filled with people who played "Let's go to Prison". They would do things like drop their wallets at the scene. (Or upload fake kiddie porn.)

(Unrelated: Always watching classic films on Turner. Almost all those old movies have a human-male fight, usually trying to kill each other. No wonder we're so crazy. The good thing about current TeeVee shows is the female characters (e.g. Ziva on NCIS) are as violent as the boys. It's a victory for feminism. (And women are having to fight for their own uteri yet AGAIN?! I liked what that uterus-kintting lady said on the newz the other night: "Here's one of your own. Now leave mine alone." You didn't miss that did you?))

(Have you noticed that lady school teachers still get only ... slapped for ... 13-year-old boys? Is that another victory for feminism?)

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: Button Square Pants

It amazes me how some people think they can get away with sending pictures to someone online that are illegal, didn't it ever go through Bassett's mind that just maybe he could get caught?

I guess that's why they become criminals, they aren't very bright to begin with.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: New Laws for Filling Up Private Prisions

Just the beginning, people getting multiply life terms for thinking they can surf at a website that says everyone is an adult, and have law enforcement act at the role to get prosecution.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: no sense

"luring" a fictious minor, unless the Sheriff's dept is hiring teenagers. Way back awhile a guy got 16 years for murdering someone at a bank drive thru here. somethings outta wack.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: What a Good Friday for Children

So glad he is going to be locked up forever and a day.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: Justice Served

If this guy had met the 13 year old, most of his supporters would be singing a different tune. Lucky we caught this one before he had the chance to act on his impulses

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: An American

@ccw, There was no kid! The 13 year old was a fabrication by the sheriffs deputy, he did not touch, talk to, tweet, skype, text, or whatever else any kid.....There was no crime commited against a 13 year old girl by this man....How long will it be before they have some device to read ones mind? Will they then prosecute us on our thoughts or dreams?...

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: This Case and others Like It Will get TOSSED in Appeals Court

Like the show, "To Catch A Predator" where they, too, lured people in with lies and deceit, all cases were thrown out in the Appeals process because of entrapment by the police. What kind of legal system supports POLICE OFFICERS LYING? There is supposed to be integrity in our law enforcement - these kinds of abuse of power are what's wrong with our society - do WHATEVER YOU CAN to lure and entrap. When these cases are reversed in the appeal process, let's tally up the legal costs and see if it was truly worth it. I already know that answer....

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: Ludvig Von

Life in prison for a crime that was created by the cops........ Hey, I have an idea.... Lets bring tons of beer to an AA meeting and offer it to everybody. Im sure that eveybody will make the RIGHT choice. I think that our legislators and cops need to spend some time in jail so thay know what they are handing out. NOBODY WAS HARMED!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: LE Supporter

@An American - Unforunately this is not a case of "creating a crime". This sort of crime goes on much too often with real 13 year old victims and these predators trolling for them. This type of investigation is one of thefew ways that the police can even make a dent in this disgusting practice by these creeps and send the message of non-tolerance. When a 13 year old is actually victimized, the police may only discover the crimeif the victim comes forwrad or tells someone what happened but that is long after the damage has been done to that child. I would be surprised if Bassett has not already met real kids on line and arranged these meetings before. The odds thathe gets caught in his first time doing this are astronomica.l His defense is garbage and there was no entrapment here. The laws regarding entrapment are quite clearand stringent and making the argument that everyone involved in this prosecution is lying is absurd. As a parent, I am glad that there are police officers doing their best to keep my kids safer.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: Common Senzi

Let that be a lesson kids....

Don't talk to trolls on the internet and if you are going to commit a crime, rob a bank or kill someone and you will get less time.

I think the taxpayers would be better served by just taking his internet away ...

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: Just Saying

Apparently it IS a crime to be stupid.

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: ron reek


Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: An American

I don't like that our sheriffs office is creating a crime to get a conviction. Is there not enough work out there for them to do? Have they grown so large that they need to find "busy" work to justify theirselves. How does this build trust and respect between the citizens and law enforcement knowing that they lie in wait trying to trap their next victom? ...... There are so many laws out there that each and every one of us are breaking some kind of law that we are not even aware of, and with cops and prosecutors looking for the next feather in their cap, anyone could be their next victory.....

Them against us..

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Article comment by: ccw carrier

well if that doesnt teach people to stop messing with kids nothing will ,now if they could just apply sentences like that to people who missbehave with guns maybe responsible gun owners wouldnt have to defend ourselves so much against the naysayers

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