Police not satisfied with sentence of Pomona man

Claremont police are calling on a the US Attorney’s office for a second opinion after a local man wanted for meeting with a child for lewd purposes got away with a lighter-than-anticipated sentence.

Claremont police arrested Donny Wade, a 32-year-old resident of Pomona, on March 13 after being found with a 14-year-old runaway from Utah. Mr. Wade and the juvenile had met through online chat rooms on Meetme.com. Mr. Wade successfully persuaded the girl to come out to Claremont, buying her a ticket on the Greyhound on March 8, according to police.

The teenager had been missing for 5 days before police caught up with her on the roof of the parking structure at First Street and Claremont Boulevard. The teen had been linked to Mr. Wade’s home and several local hotels before she was found. Police were able to locate her by tracking her computer usage. Mr. Wade was arrested and the teen returned to her family.

Though police recommended criminal charges for lewd acts with a child as well as meeting with a child for lewd purposes, the DA only upheld the latter offense, to which Mr. Wade pleaded no contest on March 14. He was sentenced to one year county jail time with 5 years probation, according to the District Attorney. Officers say he will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Local police remain disappointed with the ruling, believing that Mr. Wade should have at least been sentenced to state prison. Further, they fear that Mr. Wade will be up to his old ways once released.

“This plea agreement doesn’t even address probation conditions that prohibit the defendant, once he’s released from County jail, from using the Internet and associating with children,” said Claremont’s Chief of Police Paul Cooper in a statement.

“While there is no requirement that the district attorney’s office contact law enforcement agencies when plea bargaining cases, in this matter we would have hoped that we could have been provided an opportunity to provide our input, especially when this plea was made so early on in the process, at the defendant’s arraignment,” Chief Cooper continued.

Claremont police will continue to investigate whether or not federal laws were violated with the ruling and will be contacting the US Attorney’s office for a review.

—Beth Hartnett



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