Christchurch man jailed for grooming, abusing boy

Callum Joshua Jones has been sentenced to two years’ four months’ imprisonment for grooming and...
Callum Joshua Jones has been sentenced to two years’ four months’ imprisonment for grooming and violating a 14-year-old. PHOTO: STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
A Christchurch man who groomed and abused a teenage boy after he was given accommodation during lockdown has been jailed for more than two years.

In July 2021, Callum Joshua Jones, 31, developed a working relationship with a family in Otago, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

Jones lied to the family, telling them he was 23 years old.

As the Covid-19 lockdown hit, the defendant requested to stay with the family to avoid breaching travel restrictions.

They set up a mattress in their son’s bedroom, leading the pair to bunk together for about two weeks.

During that time, Jones gave the boy a cellphone along with access to his media-streaming accounts.

The pair also began messaging each other via social media.

Over four consecutive evenings in August 2021, Jones straddled the boy as he lay face down on the bed, massaging his legs and buttocks.

He told the teenager it was normal for adolescent boys to experiment with one another and floated the idea of more intimate acts.

In winter with the permission of the teenager's parents, Jones took the boy on a ski trip.

The victim’s mother, who was unaware of Jones’ criminal intent, booked a motel room for her son and the man, who had become a "trusted family friend", the court heard.

Jones gave the boy a new iPhone and reiterated that the trip would be the prime opportunity for sexual experimentation.

In a motel room with two single beds, Jones assured the victim that "nobody would know" and it would "feel good".

The teenager gave in.

After five minutes, the boy told Jones it hurt and he didn’t like it, so he stopped — but not for long.

Jones "used the purchasing of the iPhone as leverage to persuade" him to allow further lewd acts, court documents said.

Judge Michael Turner said the "serious offending" had caused significant harm to the child and the breach of trust had fractured the victim’s family.

Crown prosecutor Pip Norman said consent could not be gained through coercion.

"The bribery aspect is very important," she said.

‘‘The amount of time and energy put into the culminating trip where the two acts took place shows a level of premeditation."

Judge Turner said the sexual grooming took many forms and clearly escalated over time.

"You were gaining the trust of the victim; you were isolating the victim. There was no-one the victim could turn to or seek assistance from," he said.

"He was dependent on you for companionship and emotional support. This was a highly manipulative form of behaviour by you."

The court heard the teenager had exhibited a "significant change in behaviour" since the encounters and blamed himself for what Jones had done.

Judge Turner said this was wrong and the defendant had exhibited a "degree of minimisation, victim blaming and denying".

"‘I am heterosexual’, he says. Clearly his behaviour is deviant behaviour. It involves sexual urges towards children."

Counsel Cate Anderson said the man recognised he had a problem and had even attempted to seek assistance for his urges in 2009, but was rejected by a programme because they did not accept self-referrals.

Judge Turner called it "unfortunate" that he hadn’t been accepted but said the man’s behaviour was "highly manipulative".

Ms Anderson said Jones had a very supportive, pro-social family and advocated for a sentence of home detention.

Jones was convicted of two counts of sexual contact with a child, performing an indecent act on a young person and grooming.

He was sentenced to two years four months’ imprisonment.