A Canadian "sex tourist" who admitted he traveled to Fort Lauderdale to have sex with two teenage boys is facing 10 years to life in federal prison when he is sentenced this afternoon.
Rene Roberge, 48, wrote in one email that, after a near-death experience, he decided to live all his fantasies and indulge what he called his "perve dreams."
Roberge was arrested in November shortly after his flight landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
He had been communicating online for several weeks with a man Roberge thought was going to let him have sex with the man's 14-year-old son in Pompano Beach.
That arrangement was an undercover sting involving a fictional teen, arranged by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents who posed as a 55-year-old dad.
But after Roberge was detained at the airport, he told federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations that he was also planning to travel on to Texas to have sex with a real 15-year-old boy he had also been communicating with online.
Investigators also found more than 150 child pornography images on Roberge's iPad, which he brought with him. Authorities said he also shared some of the child pornography images with the 15-year-old.
Roberge, a former TV soundman who lived in Sherbrooke in Quebec, pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of enticing a minor into sexual activity, one count of entering the U.S. to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of transporting child pornography.
Roberge's mother, his two brothers and sister-in-law wrote a letter, translated from French, to Chief U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore acknowledging that Roberge knew he had made "a big mistake" but seeking mercy for him.
The family suggested that he had been deeply affected by a severe heart condition and spent three weeks hovering between life and death in intensive care. Though he can now walk with a cane, they said Roberge was paralyzed from the waist down for some time after surgery.
"Is it a great emotion like this one that caused this unsettlement?" they wrote. "We do not know. Rene has lots of regrets; he is not a criminal. An error was made on his path."
Roberge's online profile described his interests as "looking for Dad how shares for a young boy." He joined groups online called "How sick and twisted are you?" and "Pervert Fantasies."
Federal prosecutors have asked the judge to impose a more severe sentence because the child pornography included images of a prepubescent minor; the material portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct; and Roberge shared the material with the 15-year-old.
Prosecutors also asked the judge to consider a letter written by the adoptive mother of three of the underage brothers who appeared in some of the child pornography that Roberge downloaded from the Internet.
The boys were sexually assaulted and exploited by a foster parent in 2003 after they were taken from their biological parents because of abuse and neglect. The foster parent repeatedly raped the boys, forced them into sexual activity with other children and shared photographs of that abuse online with other perverts, the mother wrote in her letter.
"Every time a deranged pervert posts and re-posts these graphic images of our sons, our nightmare occurs again and again. For I know that someone is deriving sick sexual pleasure from viewing pictures of my sons being raped."
The woman, who is not identified in court records, said she wrote the letter to dispel the myth that sharing old child pornography online is a victimless crime. Her children feel like they are being exploited when they learn that another person is sharing the images of them being abused online, she wrote.
Roberge's sentencing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in federal court in Miami. He has been jailed since his November arrest.
From our media partner Sun Sentinel