A man avoided prison after he sent explicit text messages to his child’s schoolfriend with the intention of sexually abusing her.
A man avoided prison after he sent explicit text messages to his child’s schoolfriend with the intention of sexually abusing her.

Dad avoids jail for grooming child’s schoolfriend

A TASMANIAN dad in his 50s who sent sexually-explicit text messages to his child's 16-year-old classmate, asking if she'd like to "f … an older man", has narrowly escaped a stint in jail.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is one of the first people in Tasmania to be convicted of the newly-named "grooming with intent to procure a young person for sexual abuse" charge.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alan Blow said the man started messaging the girl during 2018, with his tone progressively becoming more explicit and revealing that he was much older.

"In the beginning you did not say who you were. You made vague suggestions that you and she could chat, and that she could have some fun," he said,

"As the exchange of messages progressed, you became more and more explicit, revealing that you were much older than she was, revealing that you were the father of one of her friends, and asking whether she 'would like to f... an older man'."

But when the man eventually revealed who he was, the girl's boyfriend wrote back - with the young couple agreeing not to say anything "for the sake" of the man's child.

The next day, the man started messaging the girl again, but she told her parents and they reported the matter to police.

"The girl in question was very upset about receiving your text messages," Chief Justice Blow said while sentencing.

"She still has nightmares about what happened. She is anxious in situations where she fears she might run into you. She feels uncomfortable about talking to older men."

The judge said the man was "very embarrassed" about his offending, with his current partner, ex-wife, family and friends all aware of what he'd done.

The man, who pleaded guilty, was given a five-month suspended jail sentence and a $2500 fine.

The grooming charge replaces the formerly-named "communicating with intent to procure a person under 17 years to engage in an unlawful sexual act".

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
 

Originally published as Dad avoids jail for grooming child's schoolfriend


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