Lawrence man who solicited sex with teen girl sentenced to 38 months in prison
photo by: KBI
A Lawrence man was sentenced Monday to 38 months, or just more than three years, in prison for commercial sexual exploitation of a child.
A jury found Joshua F. Sinnard, now 40, guilty following a trial in January 2020.
The victim, a 17-year-old girl, had been communicating via Snapchat with a user named “Wammajamma,” whom the victim believed to be a 15- or 16-year-old girl from Baldwin City, according to documents in the case file. In July 2017, that user sent out a generic message to all of the account’s friends asking if anyone wanted to make $200.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Alice Walker said during the sentencing hearing that investigators were never able to locate a teen girl connected with that username. Either Sinnard himself was behind the username, or he was using one teenager to help him arrange sex with another teen girl, Walker said.
The girl told police she asked “Wammajamma” what she would have to do for the $200. The user said a friend named Josh would pay the victim for sex, according to court documents. The victim agreed to do it. She told police Sinnard picked her up, drove her to his apartment, they had sex and then he drove her to the Legends shopping center, about an hour northeast of Lawrence.
The girl told police Sinnard had also asked her if she knew of any 12-year-old girls who would be willing to have sex with him, and if she could arrange that, he would pay her $500.
Sinnard had remained out of custody on a $10,000 surety bond since he was arrested on a warrant in March 2018, court and jail records show. In large part because of the pandemic, Sinnard’s sentencing hearing had been delayed and did not occur until one year and one day after his conviction.
Branden Smith, Sinnard’s defense attorney, argued to the judge that the year on bond after the conviction showed that Sinnard was capable of following the court’s orders and that he would be a good candidate for probation.
Smith also argued that the judge should consider that the girl was a “willing participant” in the act. He said the girl didn’t consent because she was desperate for money to feed her family or anything of that nature, and she wasn’t being trafficked. The degree of harm to the victim was less than a standard commercial exploitation case, he said.
Walker argued against that point.
“It’s honestly a little absurd that an individual can commit a crime and then blame the victim as being a participant to seek a departure from a presumptive sentence,” Walker said. She noted that if the victim had not consented, Sinnard would have been charged with rape.
Walker also read aloud a letter from the girl. The girl wrote that she felt dirty and ashamed after the incident, and she constantly blamed herself for what happened. She wrote that more than three years later, there isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t feel anxiety thinking about what happened. She never wanted another girl to feel the guilt and regret that she did, she wrote.
Douglas County District Court Chief Judge James McCabria said the crime occurred when Sinnard made the offer to hire someone by giving something of value for sex, and therefore McCabria thought it was inappropriate to “consider the nature of the person involved.”
Sinnard’s conviction is a level-4 or midlevel-severity felony, which is punishable by a standard prison sentence of 41 months under state law. The judge denied Smith’s request to grant Sinnard probation rather than prison; Smith then requested a shortened prison sentence.
McCabria declined to shorten the sentence beyond granting a mitigated sentence of 38 months in custody, which is the minimum allowed under state law unless the judge finds “substantial and compelling” reasons to modify a sentence further. The judge said he did not find such circumstances in this case.
Smith said Sinnard intended to appeal the case and asked McCabria to grant an appellate bond, but the judge denied that request.
Sinnard had no credit for time served in jail. He is eligible for 15% good time credit. He will have lifetime post-release supervision, and he must register as a sex offender for life. The judge waived his costs and fees.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has declined to release Sinnard’s booking photo to the Journal-World shortly after his trial and again Monday after the sentencing hearing, saying the record is not required to be disclosed because of an exemption in Kansas’ open records laws. However, Sinnard has been registered as a a sex offender for nearly a year awaiting sentencing, and his photo was available through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Contact Mackenzie Clark
Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact public safety reporter Mackenzie Clark: