Cameron Thor Sexual Assault Sentencing Set For This Week
The famed Hollywood acting coach, found guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor, faces a maximum penalty of 13 years in prison.
After months of delays, acting coach Cameron Thor will face a judge this Wednesday for the long-awaited sentencing phase in his case of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Thor was found guilty last August of committing a lewd act on Jordyn Ladell (pictured below), a 13-year-old middle school student in Agoura Hills at the time of the incident in 2009. The Los Angeles Country District Attorney's Office added a special finding of “substantial sexual conduct” with a child under the age of 14.
Sentencing is expected on April 27, and in the harshest possible scenario Thor could receive 8 years in state prison.
A respected actor in his own right — with a credit as dinosaur thief Lewis Dodgson in Jurassic Park as well as several TV shows — Thor also is one of Hollywood's best known acting coaches, having worked with Courteney Cox, Madonna, Drew Carey and Cameron Diaz, according to his website.
After the guilty verdict last August, Thor dismissed his criminal defense attorney James Blatt and replaced him with a Hollywood powerhouse Mark Geragos, who is also representing pop star Kesha in her ongoing lawsuit against mega producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald.
Geragos got to work immediately, pushing for a new trial and filing a motion to quash the special finding, which can carry stiff additional penalties in the sentencing phase.
But Judge Martin Herscovitz, who presided over the monthslong trial, denied Geragos’ requests, essentially putting an end to the procedural delays of the last several months.
At one such hearing in late March, at which scores of Thor’s supporters were present, Herscovitz reaffirmed the guilty verdict. He briefly summarized the events of 2009 that led to the conviction, when Thor took Ladell, an eighth-grade student, on a drive into the Santa Monica mountains and pulled off onto the side of a lonely highway. There, Herscovitz said, Thor “got in the back seat with this 13-year-old girl to, quote-unquote, 'smoke marijuana.'"
Ladell has always maintained that Thor assaulted her in the back seat of the car. Thor chose not to testify on his own behalf during trial, but attorney Blatt presented a much more innocuous scenario — that Thor had moved to the back seat simply to smoke marijuana and that nothing of a sexual nature occurred.
But jurors apparently were not swayed by the defense’s argument and, after two days of deliberations, rendered a guilty verdict against Mr. Thor. While testimony from Ms. Ladell and others surely played a key role in the conviction, Thor’s case probably wasn’t helped by comments he made to Ladell years later, when she was a consenting adult and police, who by then were investigating the acting coach, recorded several calls between the two.
In one of these “pretext calls,” whose purpose was to verify Ladell’s claims about Thor’s behavior and conduct toward her, the following exchange took place (according to publicly available court records):
Cameron Thor: I’ve always had the mad desire to f— you.
Jordyn L: You have?
Cameron Thor: Yeah, which is a really sort of direct way of putting it. … I just want to twist you around like a little spider monkey and watch you come. That is what I would like to do.
Jordyn L: Well, you had your way with me a few times.
Cameron Thor: I’d like to watch that a lot.
Several of Thor’s supporters have stood by him throughout the trial and have appeared at various hearings such as the one in March.
“From reading the many letters, two inches of letters that you submitted, by probably many of the people who are present in court today, there is at least a feeling and probably a sincere feeling that Mr. Thor is some sort of innocent person who is an innocent man, falsely accused,” Herscovitz told the court at the March hearing.
But the judge then pointed out that, during the trial, Thor had failed to deny Ladell’s allegations of sexual misconduct about the time the two spent in the back seat of Thor’s car. The failure to deny these specific accusations, Herscovitz explained, was a “tacit admission.”
“At that point, if those things had not happened, the defendant would have denied it, and he didn’t,” Herscovitz said.
The jury, he told the court, had correctly carried out its duties. "It was the totality of the evidence that said that there's sufficient evidence to convince ... the jury and myself that the defendant is guilty of the crimes charged in this case."
Thor and Ladell met when Ladell, then 12 years old, accompanied her mother, Pattie, to a series of local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the spring and summer of 2009. Thor offered to give Ladell private acting lessons in his own home. Ladell, whose own family was crippled by internal dysfunction and financial problems at the time, went along. Ladell says Thor’s abuse began shortly thereafter.
L.A. Assistant District Attorney Simone Shay had initially filed 14 charges against Thor, but dropped 13 of them during pretrial motions.
Geragos, Thor's family and Shay declined to comment.