Facebook predator gets 14 to 28 years
April 29, 2013
An Adams Township man who made up fake identities to victimize teenage girls he befriended on Facebook will spend 14 to 28 years in prison. William Ainsworth, 55, pretended to be teenaged boys to garner the trust of more than 600 unsuspecting teens in Beaver, Butler and Allegheny counties. Once those teens added Ainsworth’s personas to their “friends” list, he preyed on the vulnerable, convincing girls to share their secrets, open their trust and send him naked photographs. Two of the girls agreed to meet Ainsworth. And one of those girls had sex with him. Ainsworth, who pleaded guilty to more than 75 crimes including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and solicitation of unlawful contact with a minor, said the 2011 deceit “started out as an innocent act.” Ainsworth claims he first went on Facebook with a completely different intention: To monitor the activities of his own twin teenaged girls and be sure they were not getting involved with shady characters. But while on the Internet, Ainsworth, who has a white beard and thinning hair, pretended to be a young surfer from Florida and a rebellious high school drop out. Court records allege Ainsworth concocted an “elaborate and disturbing” tale of the fictitious identities, intertwining the persona’s lives, using photographs from other places to bolster his claims. At one point, he announced the death of one of the personas. Once in the teen’s confidence, Ainsworth’s personalities allegedly would compliment the victims’ and discuss their problems at school and at home. In the process, he convinced five of the girls to share naked photographs of themselves with him. Two of the girls were convinced to meet with Ainsworth. The eight girls identified as victims were ages 13 to 15 when they encountered Ainsworth. One of the girls and three of the girls’ mothers spoke in court Monday about their experiences and after effects. They said they already were in vulnerable situations when they encountered Ainsworth and came to believe he was someone they could lean on. “She believed his name was a 16-year-old boy named Anthony,” one mother explained. “He was her first crush.” This particular mother intercepted the messages between Ainsworth and her daughter on Facebook. The girls’ parents learned of Ainsworth’s plan to visit their house and called police when he arrived there. “I believe he was there with the intention to rape my 14-year-old daughter,” the mother said. Once exposed by authorities, the victims came to learn Ainsworth’s true identity and were shattered by the abuse of trust, the mothers said. In reality, Ainsworth was a car salesman, a one-time cheerleading coach and a one-time owner of a tavern. Each of the victimized girls now is in counseling, according to their mothers. Two made serious attempts at suicide. At least one encountered a drug addiction “to ease the pain,” and another alienated her family until she got pregnant. She has since given birth to a daughter. The girls, they said, were left with irreparable trust issues stemming from their experiences with Ainsworth. Ainsworth, who apologized during the hearing, claims he really is a good and giving person and loving father. “My daughters forgive me, and I’m grateful for that,” he said. Then, focusing on the victims in the courtroom, he said, “I’m not the man you think I am.” But Butler County Judge Tim McCune took issue with the statement, suggesting the defendant “is two people.” Nice to the people in his family’s circle, and “terrible to these girls.” In addition to the prison time, the judge ordered Ainsworth to spend 16 years on probation. Even though prosecutors with the state’s attorney general’s office did not seek to have Ainsworth declared a sexually violent predator, he still must register his whereabouts with state police for the rest of his life. When he is released from prison he is not to have any contact with the victims or unsupervised contact with minors.