'Predatory' texts sent to teen after man found number online
A MACKAY man who texted a 14-year-old girl photos of an erect penis found her mobile number on Facebook.
The girl's mother asked James Andrews to stop, warning him the Facebook contact he was texting unsolicited was under age, but the 24-year-old sent another photo.
Andrews faced Judge Leanne Clare in the District Court in Mackay yesterday for sentencing. The unemployed man pleaded guilty to four counts of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a person under 16 years.
Crown prosecutor Sophie Harburg said Andrews had sent four photos of a penis and propositioned the girl for sex between June 1 and July 1, 2015.
She said in the first instance Andrews had sent a photo and asked "you want to come work at my place". Ms Harburg said the girl had replied with a text indicating "a vomit noise".
Andrews only knew the girl through Facebook.
However, Andrews texted the girl photos three more times, before her mother called him, demanding he stop, Ms Harburg said.
After a fourth message, the girl and her mother reported Andrew's behaviour to police.
Ms Harburg said the girl had been left feeling unsafe after receiving the texts, feared for her privacy and had trouble trusting people.
The girl and her family also struggled to cope with the in-depth police investigation that followed, the court was told.
Ms Harburg said Andrews obtaining the girl's mobile number over social media had a "predatory and corrupting aspect".
Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan said Andrews had lived an "unstable" life, but had given up drugs, was young and unlikely to reoffend.
She also said Andrews had pleaded guilty before an impending trial, which had prevented the girl having to be cross-examined in court.
Judge Clare said Andrews' actions were "not only uninvited but simply gratuitous".
"It was your persistence that was particularly disturbing to the complainant and her mother," she said.
"Internet offenders pose a particular challenge for law enforcement. Children are accessible and easy to target online.
"Deterrence, therefore, is important and protection of children is a paramount consideration."
Andrews was sentenced to three months jail and released immediately on an 18-month good behaviour bond.
A conviction was recorded.