A former Las Vegas kindergarten teacher was sentenced to life in prison on Monday for kidnapping a 16-year-old girl and creating child pornography with her in his apartment for two months, PEOPLE confirms.
Melvyn Sprowson, 48, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 12½ years by Judge Stefany Miley, court documents obtained by PEOPLE show.
In March, Sprowson was convicted on four counts of unlawful use of a minor in the production of pornography, one count of first-degree kidnapping and one count of child abuse. He had pleaded not guilty and represented himself.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that at his sentencing hearing on Monday, Sprowson told Judge Miley that he still loved the victim.
Sprowson met the teen through a Craigslist ad he posted in August 2013, reports CBS8 Las Vegas.
Prosecutors alleged that he had the victim send him photos of her wearing very little clothing. The two exchanged several photographs, and eventually met at a roller-skating rink, reports the Review-Journal.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Sprowson and the victim developed a relationship after a few weeks. When the girl’s disapproving mother discovered her daughter’s contact with Sprowson, she took away her daughter’s phone as punishment, reports the Review-Journal reports.
Sprowson said he intended on keeping the girl in his apartment until she turned old enough that the two could get married, the Review-Journal reports. According to the victim’s testimony at trial, Sprowson removed her from school and prevented boys from entering his apartment while she was there.
While the girl was in his apartment, she wasn’t allowed to have any contact with her family. When Sprowson left the apartment with the victim, he concealed her identity with baggy clothes and a baseball cap. One time, Sprowson drove the victim right past her family’s house, reports the Review-Journal.
After Sprowson was charged but released from custody, he reached out to the victim on Instagram, reports the Review-Journal.
“This is someone who is absolutely incapable of doing two things: number one, doing what is right, and number two, knowing what he did was wrong,” Prosecutor Jacqueline Bluth said, as reported by the Review-Journal. “I’ve never once heard him take responsibility or accountability for what he has done.”
The paper also reports the victim’s grandmother asked Miley for the maximum sentence.
“This is a grown man who lies, manipulates and rationalizes like a child,” the victim’s grandmother said. “So I don’t see any hope of him not doing the same thing to another child.”
During his sentencing, Sprowson said, “This is an issue of age of consent. This is not an issue of me being a criminal and having criminal intent,” according to the Review-Journal. “One day I will die, and I will wake up in the arms of Jesus. That is my sole consolation in this whole process. The Lord knows what happened. I have a clear conscious before God.”
Sprowson at one point seemed to insist that he should not have even been charged with a crime, reports the Review-Journal.
“If she was 18 and not 16, would I have been charged with kidnapping? The answer is absolutely no,” he said. “If she was 18 and not 16, would I have been charged with child abuse? The answer is no,” Sprowson said.
Sprowson told the judge he plans to appeal, according to NBC3 News Las Vegas.
Fashion Deals Update: