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"It is only through victims speaking out that people like you are stopped in their tracks," Judge Stephen Coyle said, sentencing a 57-year-old man who, through Facebook, made an indecent suggestion to a young teenage girl he knew.
The girl did what everyone should do. She went and told her mother. She was to be commended, the judge said.
Before the Dunedin District Court yesterday, Keith Alister Kyle, unemployed, admitted a Telecommunications Act charge of making an indecent suggestion (by computer).
He was convicted and sentenced to 200 hours' community work and nine months' intensive supervision, a special condition being to undergo a psychological assessment and any treatment/counselling recommended.
In addition, he is not to use any internet-capable device unless otherwise directed by probation.
Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Knox said that the girl knew Kyle through a friend.
Kyle made a Facebook "friend request" to the girl on August 13. She added him as a friend but did not respond to his invitation to "message" him if she was online.
The following day, she did not respond to another message from Kyle asking if she was online.
The next day Kyle again "messaged" her to see if she was online. When she replied she was, he sent a series of messages saying he wanted to tell her things but made her promise she would not tell her mother.
He then sent a message telling her she was sexy and making an indecent suggestion. He also told her what he would like to do and invited her to ask him what else he would like to do.
The girl was disgusted and showed her mother the message straight away.
Spoken to by police, Kyle admitted sending the message and said he had done a stupid thing.
Kyle's explanation, through counsel Theo Vaisala, was he thought the girl had issues around her behaviour with teenage boys. It had been his intention help her.
Judge Coyle said the message was "clearly sexual" and "patently disturbing and offensive" to the girl. For Kyle to see his comments as in some way helping her was "appalling and horrifying".
"I don't accept for one minute your actions were motivated out of some desire to help her," he told him.
Kyle had been at pains to elicit a promise from her she would not tell her mother, the judge said.
"You clearly knew what you were doing was wrong and you would get into trouble if it came to light."
Imposing sentence, the judge said the term of community work was to denounce the offending and to deter Kyle and others. And the intensive supervision was "extremely important" because it provided a rehabilitative aspect.
Kyle had a relevant past conviction (exposing himself) in 1992, the judge noted.