Acting Coach Cameron Thor Sentenced to 6 Years Over Sexual Misconduct With 13-Year-Old
Convicted of committing a lewd act against a minor, beloved acting coach is handed a tough prison sentence.
Cameron Thor, a former acting coach and respected mentor to numerous Hollywood A-listers, was sentenced to 6 years in state prison Wednesday morning following his conviction last August on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Judge Martin Herscovitz said Thor was not eligible for probation. The maximum allowable sentence was 8 years, according to the L.A. County DA's office. Herscovitz said it was in Thor's favor that he had maintained a clean record.
The Van Nuys Superior Court room was filled to capacity for the ruling, one side lined with Thor’s friends and family, the other packed with supporters of Thor’s accuser, Jordyn Ladell, now 20, whose allegations that Thor had sexually assaulted her in 2009, when she was 13 years old, triggered a police investigation and subsequent charges by the L.A. County District Attorney’s office.
Herscovitz spoke about how Thor had "taken advantage" of Ladell's vulnerability. He also said that Thor had "groomed" Ladell and that his actions showed "great preparation." TV and radio stations were also present in court to film the hearing.
Prior to the sentencing, Ladell read aloud from a lengthy Victim’s Impact Statement about how Thor’s assault had affected her and her family’s life.
"I don't want to talk about how what did Cameron impacted me, reliving that horror over and over," she began. "Cameron raped me and no one could stop him."
Jordyn Ladell, as seen in a photograph for THR's 2015 story on the trial.
Both sides of the courtroom watched and listened raptly as she spoke for several minutes — about nightmares, about how many people didn't and don't believe her, about cyber-bullying at school and elsewhere. Ladell, backed by three friends who stood behind her as she read, also revealed publicly that she had been raped twice more in the years since her encounter with Thor. Ladell told the court that she and her parents had received death threats in the wake of Thor's guilty verdict.
Thor's family left the courtroom during part of Ladell's statement. Ladell broke down into tears at several points while speaking, particularly during one long section about her relationship with her brother, Josh, who also began to weep.
Thor, dressed in a blue prison jumpsuit from L.A. County Jail, turned to his family when he entered the court, telling them he loved them, and then sat still during Ladell's reading, staring straight ahead.
"Unlike when I was thirteen, I now know how to spot a pedophile," Ladell concluded, asking Judge Herscovitz to sentence him to the full extent of his powers.
Ladell's mother Pattie also spoke about the difficulties of parenting adequately in the wake of her daughter's assault. "[Thor] fooled me into letting my daughter spend time with him," she said. Breaking down at one point, addressing Thor and his family directly, she told an emotional story about finding her daughter terrified in her room after a nightmare, scared of a man attacking her.
"I will never be able to get that out of my memory," Pattie Ladell said.
Ladell's father Dean then spoke.
"I stand here a very broken man," he said, "I'll die broken, I don't think I"ll ever recover from what I personally feel was my responsibility to protect my family. The actions of another didn't allow me to do that."
Dean Ladell said he was "void" of anger toward Thor, but rather that he was confused about "what kind of man could do that to a 13 year old girl."
Ladell concluded by saying his anger had subsided. "I don't blame the defendant," he said, "I have only myself to blame."
After the August conviction, Thor dismissed his trial attorney, James Blatt, and hired instead Mark Geragos, a high profile defense attorney who has represented Michael Jackson and is currently working with pop star Kesha in her sexual harassment suit against producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald. At least one media report at the time alleged that the DA’s office had offered Thor a plea deal that would not have included any prison time, but produced no evidence to support the claim. This week, the DA’s office declined to comment on the veracity of that report.
Mark Geragos pointed out that Thor, in his 56 years, has never been accused of anything like this before.
"He's not going to throw himself on the mercy of the court because he didn't do it. Not a single one of his supporters has changed their mind."
"It was not a good idea for him to smoke marijuana with a girl," Geragos said, "But did he rape her? No."
"This man's 56 years on this earth are not going to be defined by this conviction," he said, "The system got it wrong this time."
Ladell met Thor in the spring of 2009 when she accompanied her mother, Pattie, to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Agoura Hills. Thor offered to give the then 13-year-old Ladell acting lessons free of charge at his home. During last summer’s trial, Thor’s legal counsel admitted that the acting coach had driven Ladell to a remote spot in the Santa Monica mountains where he had climbed into the backseat with her to smoke marijuana. Ladell has always maintained that Thor sexually assaulted her there. Thor’s lawyer insisted that nothing of a sexual nature occurred between the two in the car, or ever, and that Thor was innocent of the charges against him.
The L.A. District Attorney’s office had originally brought more than a dozen charges against Thor, including rape and kidnapping, but a judge dismissed most of them during a preliminary hearing. Deputy District Attorney Simone Shay ended up pursuing only one charge — lewd conduct with a minor, along with a special circumstances provision for sexual misconduct with a person under the age of 14 — when the case went to trial, and a jury found Thor guilty.