Camas man’s trial opens in child porn case

Charges involve two underage girls

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

Published:

 

In her opening statement to the jury, Deputy Prosecutor Kristine Foerster said, “I have no heart. When I’m lied to I’m like the devil.”

She said this is the line the defendant, Zachary William Akers, used before he demanded nude photos and sexually explicit videos from an underage girl whom he was communicating with online.

Akers, 21, of Camas is accused of befriending two girls, ages 14 and 15, online and then threatening to expose private messages and compromising images he had received unless they agreed to send lewd photos and videos to him, or to meet him to have sex.

His trial began Monday in Clark County Superior Court. He is charged with viewing, possessing and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, sexual exploitation of a minor, communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, court records show.

Akers has four other pending cases related to a months-long child pornography and online child exploitation investigation. The ages of the victims range from 14 to 16 years old, according to court documents.

On Monday, his attorney, Katie Kauffman, told the jury in her opening statement that both of the alleged victims first asked Akers to send nude photos. She urged the jurors to pay attention to the evidence they won’t see, including videos and some photos that the prosecution claims exist but were unable to obtain.

Foerster told the jury that Akers created a fake Facebook profile, posing as a 16-year-old boy, to communicate with a 14-year-old girl who previously rejected him. Akers was 19 at the time, she said.

When the girl later figured out the profile was actually Akers, and her family discovered the online relationship, she ended it. In retaliation, Akers sent out compromising photos of the girl, Foerster said.

Akers then befriended a 15-year-old girl on Facebook and began messaging her, again posing as a 16-year-old boy, Foerster said. He asked the girl to send nude photos and to meet up for sex. He later learned the girl was not interested in him, so he threatened to expose their online exchange unless she sent nude photos and performed oral sex on him. He then demanded she send compromising videos of herself, Foerster said.

The girl pleaded with Akers to leave her alone, Foerster said, but he wouldn’t.

In an interview with detectives, Akers admitted that he is interested in girls who are about 15 years old, and doesn’t like girls his age or older than him. He also said he gets angry when he feels a girl has lied to or betrayed him in some way and that he lashes out in return, Foerster told the jury.

Foerster said that although the videos and some images won’t be presented, the jury will see the conversations between Akers and the victims, and will hear testimony from both girls.

Akers’ trial continues today with witness testimony.