Man sexually groomed 13-year-old girl

A 13-year-old girl who was sexually groomed by a Milton man has been left questioning her identity after receiving a barrage of explicit content.

On October 14, Donovan Peter Wells, 24, was perusing Facebook when he came across the profile of a girl who lived nearby, the Dunedin District Court heard this week.

Due to a developmental disorder, the girl reportedly has a mental capacity comparable to that of a 10-year-old.

Noting the girl’s date of birth, Wells began chatting with her.

He asked her to have sex with him, but she declined, saying her mother would "kill her if she ever found out", court documents said.

Wells pressed on, suggesting the girl’s mother need not know.

"That’s the kind of conduct we call grooming", Judge David Robinson said.

"You knew exactly who you were dealing with ... This is as serious as it gets."

After repeatedly requesting permission to send the girl lewd pictures, Wells did so.

The victim reiterated she was only 13, but Wells did not relent.

He requested nude photographs of the teenager, which she refused to provide.

Communication intensified when Wells initiated a video call with the victim, pointing the camera at his private parts — gratifying himself in full view of the camera.

Due to the psychological damage inflicted, the victim feared Wells would track her down and abuse her.

She required a family member to sleep in bed with her and faced struggles at school.

"This has had a profound effect on her. She is frightened ... This has had an impact on how your victim sees herself and how she wants to be identified", Judge Robinson said.

When questioned by police, Wells confessed to his indiscretions but explained "he wasn’t really thinking".

Counsel Andy Belcher called the offence a "one-off" that made his client "feel like crap".

Wells’ history told a different story.

A Corrections officer pointed to a pattern of predatory behaviour which began in 2013 when the defendant received a warning for similar conduct.

He expressed remorse for his actions but the judge issued him with a warning.

"If you repeat this kind of behaviour, you are likely looking at a term of imprisonment", Judge Robinson said.

The defendant’s own mental health difficulties were taken into account and the judge said a "purely rehabilitative" sentence should mitigate the likelihood of further offending.

Wells was convicted of two charges of exposing a young person to indecent material and was sentenced to two years’ intensive supervision.

Judge Robinson said he needed time to consider whether Wells should be added to the Child Sex Offender Register.

— Erin Cox, NZ on Air court reporter