Dunedin Facebook predator jailed

A Dunedin man who falsified his Facebook profile to contact a teenage boy for sex offending has been jailed for three years and warned preventive detention was a possibility for any future offending.

Glen Anthony Douglas (22) had admitted two charges of having sexual connection with the 13-year-old victim in June and July last year. At sentencing in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, Judge Michael Crosbie said the defendant's behaviour towards the boy had been ''predatory and entirely inappropriate''.

While the victim had been willing to go along with him, the fact remained the charge of having sexual connection with a young person existed to give statutory protection to vulnerable young people and protect their innocence.

''It doesn't matter whether the young person says yes - but you chose to ignore that,'' the judge said.

The summary of facts from Crown counsel Craig Power said Douglas and the boy had known each other for some time and their mothers were concerned about the nature of their relationship and its potential, given the defendant's history. Both mothers had previously warned the boy to stay away from the defendant because of his sexual proclivities.

Because of the level of the boy's mother's concern, she ensured her son's Facebook profile had blocked Douglas so he could not make contact. But Douglas created a pseudo Facebook name and managed to contact the boy through the new profile. The boy was aware of the defendant's identity, despite the false details, and willingly began to engage in conversation with him, the summary said.

Early last June, Douglas used Facebook to arrange to meet the boy so they could have sex, which they did between June 7 and 9 behind the garage at the boy's home. Between July 1 and 31, they again arranged to meet for sex, meeting at a park. When the two mothers found the defendant's new profile they again blocked Douglas.

They did not know physical meetings had been taking place. Douglas then changed his Facebook profile again. But on August 30, the boy's mother became suspicious about who her son was communicating with and she remotely monitored the Facebook conversation. She identified Douglas and immediately went to his address and confronted him.

Crown and defence counsel agreed the offending had clearly had a significant effect on the victim and his family. The sentence recommendation was for treatment at a special unit as part of a prison sentence. Douglas was assessed at high risk - ''Quite rightly, given his past offending'', Mr Power said.

And defence counsel Campbell Savage said it was clear the defendant was going to receive a prison sentence and would not be released without a report from the treatment programme.

Judge Crosbie said he wanted Douglas to start treatment before sentence so he would not be put at risk of coming before the Parole Board without having completed the course. The psychological report provided to the court set out the defendant's background, including a history of entirely inappropriate sexual behaviour from a young age.

Douglas was potentially at high risk of sexual reoffending against young males and had shown capacity and willingness to engage repeatedly in penetrative acts of sex with young males if given the opportunity, the report said. It described him as having a limited understanding of the negative impacts of any offending.

The best thing about the report was its recommendation that Douglas be referred to a special treatment unit for sexual offenders, the judge said. Aggravating features of the offending were that there was more than one act, Douglas had previously been warned off and his activities involved elements of deception, pre-meditation and abuse of trust.

The defendant had been convicted in 2009 for similar offending from 2006 and was given a sentence of intensive supervision involving contact with the STOP programme.