Austin – Michael - Photo2

http://www.dailymercury.com.au/story/2012/08/28/jailed-for-sex-with-teen/

Jailed for sex with teen

28th August 2012 5:00 AM

MICHAEL Austin had sex with a 13-year-old girl after contacting her on Facebook.

He was almost 21 at the time but had pretended to be 17.

The couple became Facebook friends in 2010. When the girl’s aunt found out she tried to stop the contact between the two.

Austin gave the girl a mobile phone, which the aunt confiscated, but Austin just gave her another phone.

In April last year the girl ran away from home and was found hiding on Austin’s property in Mackay, Crown prosecutor Melanie Franklin told the Mackay District Court yesterday.

The couple admitted having sex that day.

Austin was arrested, charged and was released on bail.

Three days later he provided the girl with another mobile phone, sent her text messages of a sexual nature, tried to organise face-to-face meetings with her in breach of his bail conditions and also sent her two pictures of himself naked.

Ms Franklin said Austin’s behaviour was “bordering on predatory”.

“He continued the relationship despite the aunt’s intervention,” Ms Franklin said.

“There was a seven-year age difference.”

Austin, who is now 22, pleaded guilty to having unlawful carnal knowledge of a child; using electronic communications to procure a child for a sexual offence; and two charges of wilfully exposing a child to an indecent image.

Barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, for Austin, said he no longer had contact with the girl and had distanced himself from her by moving to live in Emu Park, Rockhampton.

Judge Julie Dick, SC, said Austin had some insight into offending because he told the girl he was 17 and not 21.

Austin was jailed for 18 months, to be suspended after serving six months.

On release from prison he must become a registered child sex offender and remain on the registry for 15 years.

 

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