FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Convicted Metairie pedophile sentenced to 45 years in prison
A Metairie resident who was convicted last month of showing up at a Kenner apartment believing he was going to rape a 12-year-old girl, and of child pornography charges, was sentenced Monday to 45 years in prison. The punishment in effect amounts to a life sentence in prison for Gary Lynn Workman, 57, an Alabama transplant who two years ago was ensnared in an undercover police investigation into predators who seek their prey on the Internet.
Thinking he was corresponding with a pedophile that was offering him sex with a 12-year-old girl, Workman was arrested April 9, 2012, by Kenner police and FBI agents when he arrived at a location in Kenner to rape the child. That capped of a month of communication between Workman and an undercover federal agent, during which he sent the officer emails containing child pornography.
Those graphic, shocking photographs featured into the evidence the prosecutors presented during the trial that ended Feb. 27, in Workman's conviction of attempted aggravated rape, three counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
"The court, along with the jury, saw the photographs you distributed, which the court finds horrific that there are children in this world that are being abuse in that way," Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court told Workman in handing down the punishment.
The investigation began about a month before his arrest, after Workman posted a personal advertisement on the Craigslist website under a the title, "Somebody's daughter." In it, he wrote, "Every woman is somebody's daughter. Do you have a daughter you can bring me?"
The Kenner Police Department was tipped off to the post. An FBI agent who is a member of a task force that includes Kenner police and investigates online pedophile predators, began corresponding with Workman, according to testimony. In emails, Workman described what he wanted to do to an 11-year-old girl, leading the agent to claim he had a 12-year-old girl available to be raped. Workman, who had already shared the pornographic pictures, expressed interest.
On the day he was arrested, Workman darted out of his Cleary Avenue apartment five minutes after the agent provided him with an apartment address where the rape could happen, according to testimony. Police were waiting for Workman when he arrived.
Workman claimed he was conducting his own undercover investigation of child predators. During his trial, he testified he went to the Kenner address to confirm whether it was a real location, and if so, he would call police.
The jury didn't believe him and on Feb. 27 convicted him as charged. His court-appointed attorney George Vedros asked for a new trial Monday on several grounds, including that the 12-year-old girl in question did not exist, and that authorities entrapped Workman. "Mr. Workman was lured into committing an offense he was not predisposed to do," Vedros argued.
He also argued that Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Myers unfairly prejudiced Workman by telling the jury he had been jailed while awaiting trial - a claim Myers refuted on grounds that Vedros first revealed that his client was incarcerated. Jurors rarely see criminal defendants shackled and dressed in jail clothing during trials.
Sullivan rejected the new-trial request, saying care was taken to ensure that the jury saw no indication that Workman was, indeed, jailed during his trial. The judge noted that the jury was unanimous in convicting Workman of all five charges, including the attempted aggravated rape.
Even though the 12-year-old girl was "a fictitious victim," Sullivan noted that Workman "without haste proceeded to the location that was given to you for that child." Jurors were instructed on the law concerning entrapment and still unanimously convicted Workman, the judge noted.
Sullivan sentenced Workman to 15 years in prison for the attempted aggravated rape, a charge for which the sentencing range is 10 to 50 years in prison. The judge sentenced Workman to the minimum 10 years for each of the three distribution of child pornography charges, and ran them consecutive to each other and to the 15 years for the attempted rape, for a total of 45 years.
Sullivan sentenced Workman to five years in prison for the possession of child pornography conviction. He ran it concurrent to the other sentences. If Workman were to be released from prison, he would be required to register as a sex offender, and his whereabouts electronically monitored, for the rest of his life.
Workman testified he moved from his native Alabama to the New Orleans area in 2011, to be near his "high school sweetheart," a woman he said lives in Covington. He worked for the state as a maintenance man, doing repairs at the Louisiana Supreme Court in the French Quarter and at a state-owned building in Harvey.
He said he began investigating child predators after two of them contacted him during his research into why a relative of his girlfriend left her husband for another woman. He mistakenly downloaded child pornographic pictures onto his computer that were sent by the pedophiles, he testified. He said he tried to delete them but failed, and he accidentally sent the images to the FBI agent.