Lurer maintains guilty plea

Cory Hurley
Published on January 18, 2013
John Andrew Nightingale enters provincial court in Corner Brook Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013.
Cory Hurley

CORNER BROOK — John Andrew Nightingale had a change of heart, again, maintaining he sexually assaulted a teenage girl in 2011.

The 25-year-old man had pleaded guilty to the sexual interference offence and luring a child via a computer last year. But at the June facts and sentencing hearing, his lawyer at the time, Jodi MacDonald, removed herself due to a conflict.

When the matter was called in August, Nightingale’s new lawyer, David Moores, told the court his client didn’t admit to a key component of the sexual interference charge. He had denied having sex with the girl in a pre-sentence report.

The case was called in provincial court in Corner Brook Thursday to hear Nightingale’s application to strike his guilty plea, but he withdrew that application and ultimately pleaded guilty to both charges.

Provincial court Judge Wayne Gorman accepted the plea.

Two more charges of possessing child pornography and invitation to sexual touching are to be withdrawn by the Crown.

Meanwhile, Gorman reserved his sentencing decision until a later date. Crown attorney Trina Simms asked for 12-15 months in jail on each of the two charges. Moores asked for a lower range sentence.

The Crown attorney also asked the court to impose a probation order, as well as a DNA order enlisting him on the national Sex Offender Registry.

Nightingale has been in custody since being denied bail following his April arrest. The act of sexual interference allegedly occurred between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 2011, while the other charges allege offences between Sept. 1 and April 13 of 2011-2012.

The charges were laid April 14, after the RCMP in Deer Lake received a complaint from the alleged victim's mother. The mother claimed to have found suspect conversations on her daughter's Facebook page and brought them to police.

Police said Nightingale and the female were known to each other.

According to the facts presented in court Thursday, Nightingale and the young girl exchanged a series of Facebook messages with sexual connotations. Following his continual urging, the young girl sent him nude photos of herself.

Also, at his apartment and again after his persistent urging, the two had sex for a brief time before she told him to stop. The acts which led to the charges were described as consensual.