Sex fiend John Zimmerman to be sentenced over 87 charges
Thanks to some brave victims and the work of police this weak excuse of a man is off the streets and hopefully about to get 15 to 20 years for his devious crimes on teenage girls…He has been in jail quite a while now, but unbelievably his facebook page is still live…I’m amazed he still has all those friends….What a pig…http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Zimmerman/100000551464163
December 15, 2011
ONE of Australia’s worst cyber criminals will be sentenced tomorrow for raping, stalking and grooming vulnerable underage girls.
Zimmerman, who used MySpace and Facebook to contact more than a thousand teens, has pleaded to three charges of rape, 23 charges of sexual penetration and five charges of an indecent act with a child under 16, involving girls aged between 12 and 17.
Zimmerman is expected to be sentenced to between 12 and 20 years in prison, which also include offences of making child pornography, stalking, procuring and grooming teenage girls via social media. He contacted them by “random” adding them to his Facebook and MySpace pages.
In all, Zimmerman has pleaded guilty to 87 charges involving crimes against 55 underage girls, accepting a plea deal which had the federal and state charges cut from in excess of 200.
Zimmerman is now regarded as a landmark case in predatory cyber crimes.
He was charged with illicitly having sex with seven underage girls – including two of whom stated to police they had lost their virginity to him.
Up to 40 other teens discovered on Zimmerman’s computer hard drives refused to speak with investigators or were not allowed to by their parents.
Twenty others may have been procured or groomed for sex, and other girls’ images could not be identified.
Legal loopholes have also prevented Victoria Police charging the sex fiend with offences they believe he committed outside Victoria.
Zimmerman is suspected of two sexual assaults interstate, including the alleged rape of an Adelaide minor.
Sources say up to 1900 girls were contacted by Zimmerman, who sent more than 60,000 messages over a two to three-year period.
The 26-year-old Frankston man, who raided the MySpace fan site of a popular band he managed – The Getaway Plan – to stalk girls and then their online friends is on remand and living in a prison protection unit.
The Herald Sun can also reveal police are investigating similar stalkers but a small police team dedicated to tracking cyber sex groomers is struggling to handle the workload.
A court heard last month Zimmerman was a predator who never showed the hallmarks of a future child rapist.
The County Court heard Zimmerman was thrust into a rock star lifestyle with the band he managed – in which young girls were “throwing themselves” at the band and their entourage.
But it was online where Zimmerman, flush with money and a delusional celebrity status, exploded.
The court heard he used MySpace and Facebook to lure teens into his web through over-the-top charm with the motivation to sexually exploit them.
Victims described Zimmerman as every girl’s worst fear and every parent’s nightmare.
His obsessive personality took hold in his 20s, possibly fuelled by his high libido, having never been in trouble before.
Some victims were wary of his ulterior motives as he complimented their looks saying he wanted to befriend them because they were “gorgeous” or “hot”.
Zimmerman would boast about his role with the band, offering tickets to concerts and to some a once in a lifetime chance to live the “high life” as bait.
He even bragged about managing pop stars Beyonce and Pink.
Once hooked online, his victims would be tempted into compromising positions, some posing for him on webcams that he would record with the stroke of a key to “screen grab” and later use as blackmail.
Two police operations, Tholos and later Vodoun, were launched into Zimmerman’s criminal activities after the victim of his boldest sexual crime came forward to police.
It was to unravel Zimmerman’s evil web and his silenced victims.
In her case, the 13-year-old was coerced to meet Zimmerman for sex in October 2009.
After accepting him on Facebook as a friend and chatting online, he convinced her during webcam chats to pose in her underwear, which days later he used to blackmail her by threatening to send images to her parents.
Zimmerman chose to force a meeting at a school near where she lived in Melbourne’s east.
As part of his modus operandi, he used two accounts, one depicting himself without an age, and an alias he dubbed “Jay” – a 17-year-old who was aggressive and highly sexually explicit.
Wearing a hoodie, Zimmerman told her not to look at him and led her to a secluded area where he raped her and then promised to destroy the images of her.
He would recant twice on his word, forcing her to meet him two more times for sex, each time covering her eyes to stop her looking at him.
After the third meeting the victim blocked “Jay” only for the harrassment to continue under his “Zimmo” account.
Zimmerman wrote as “Zimmo” he had received the images from “Jay” and demanded sex.
Photographs were attached to the victim as well as threats to kill her after she blocked his “Jay” account.
It continued until his arrest on November 20, 2009.
Investigations into Zimmerman’s internet accounts led to the sexual crimes squad taking over in April, 2010, following Zimmerman’s second arrest on March 31.
What they found was staggering.
Over a two-year period, Zimmerman had sent more than 60,000 messages to young girls using three Facebook and two MySpace accounts, swapping between accounts in which he used his real identity and aliases.
Three identities were predominantly used.
The first was the MySpace account “Zimmo”, an accurate profile except for his age that was created on January 25, 2005.
A second account, created on July 3, 2007, was a young, attractive blonde bi-sexual female he named Taylor, aged 18 to 23.
He used “Taylor” to exchange explicit pictures with other homosexual or bisexual females.
He then created “Johnny Zimmerman”. He switched to Facebook in 2008 and after his first arrest on November 20, opened “John Zimmerman”.
He also used “Jay”, as a secondary Facebook account.
“Jay” used similar techniques to the “Zimmo” MySpace page, but was even more explicit, aggressive and threatening.
Jay would often appear online after initial contact was made.
Seven email addresses and MSN was also used to correspond with victims.
Such was Zimmerman’s thirst to lure and have sex with young girls, he continued his criminal behaviour after first being arrested and interviewed by police in November 2009.
Investigators would find he used similar techniques with each girl he befriended online to get them to interact with him.
Zimmerman would tell his prey they had been a “random” add and that he had wanted to add them to his “friends list” because they were “hot”.
Descriptions such as “gorgeous” and “pretty” were regularly used and questions about age were deflected.
The compliments would continue until he would ask them to use a webcam for a face-to-face chat.
If they accepted, he would ask them to pose scantily clad or nude and perform lewd acts.
Screen grabs would be recorded to use against the victim, with threats to send the compromising images to family and school friends if they refused to meet with him or comply with his demands.
He would often confront them first performing lewd acts.
Zimmerman also developed “challenging techniques”, using language to intimate a girl was too inexperienced or unworldly to “play” or have “fun” with him.
Any attempt to stop contact or block him was met with aggression and threats.
In April 2009, The Getaway Plan, already planning to sack him, split up, devastating Zimmerman and leading to a period of his most frenetic offending.
His cruelty extended to laughing at one victim he coerced into having sex with him during her school lunch break, yelling “slut” from his car after dropping her at school.
Another who revealed to him she had an eating disorder was mocked for it after she refused to comply with his demands.
Within a year he would be in custody, living in a maximum security prison protection unit, with one of Australia’s most high-profile murderers for a cellmate.