Prosecution testimony will continue today in the trial of an Orange County man accused of using MySpace.com and other Internet sites to arrange meetings with young girls whom he photographed nude, resulting in at least one alleged rape.
Joshua David Threlkeld, 34, could face multiple life sentences if convicted of 103 felony and misdemeanor charges, including kidnapping to commit rape, aggravated sexual assault, lewd acts on a child, indecent exposure and possession of child pornography.
The complaint names 50 alleged victims, though prosecutors believe the actual number is in excess of 100.
A jury was sworn to hear evidence in the case Thursday.
Threlkeld is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
Court documents allege the defendant targeted girls between 11 and 17 years old, contacting most of them between August 2007 and the winter of 2009.
Threlkeld is accused of posing as a 13-year-old girl, “Sara Miller,” to initiate communication with the girls, most of whom he met via MySpace and Facebook, some from as far away as London, England, according to court documents.
He allegedly would purport that “Sara” was sometimes paid to pose nude for a photographer named “Josh” at “Model 508 Studios.”
After establishing a rapport with the girls, Threlkeld would allegedly attempt to talk them into modeling nude for him or sending him nude photographs of themselves, according to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Melissa Moore.
The prosecutor alleged that some girls turned him down flat, while others expressed an interest, leading to face-to-face encounters between the defendant and his alleged victims. Most of the girls who met the defendant were from Corona, Hemet, Moreno Valley, Palm Springs, Romoland and Winchester, according to the prosecution.
Threlkeld allegedly set up photography sessions at his Orange home, in San Jacinto and in Palm Springs. On some occasions, the defendant would allegedly arrange for two girls to meet him, and he would retrieve the juveniles and transport them to a different location, according to the brief.
The defendant would allegedly have the victims disrobe and then interact with one another in sexually suggestive ways while he shot pictures.
A 13-year-old girl identified in court documents as Vanessa met with Threlkeld in the summer of 2008 for a photo shoot at a Palm Springs hotel, prosecutors allege.
According to the D.A.’s office, the defendant snapped pictures of Vanessa for a short time, then claimed his camera was broken.
“When Vanessa was upset she could not make money for the photo shoot … the defendant suggested she could make money another way,” according to the brief, which added that the two then engaged in sex acts, for which Threlkeld paid the girl $120.
When some of the alleged victims told their families about the activity, several law enforcement agencies initiated investigations, with the D.A.’s Office taking the lead.
According to investigators, Threlkeld’s computers were seized, and numerous sexually oriented photos of the victims allegedly were recovered.