Three months’ jail for man charged with grooming 12-year-old online

  • By Norrie Ross
  • Herald Sun
  • July 13, 2010 6:46PM
  • Man asks “boy” for nude pictures
  • Was actually a US police officer
  • Should serve three months – judge

A MELBOURNE integration aide who groomed a 12-year-old boy on the internet and asked him to send nude photos will serve just three months behind bars.

Judge Christine Thornton said Paul Serong, 40, did not know that the fictitious “boy” was an undercover police officer in the US state of South Carolina.

The maximum term available for grooming a child under 16 is 15 years in jail but Judge Thornton said she took into account his guilty plea and lack of similar prior offending, the Herald Sunreported.

Sentencing Serong in the County Court today the judge said that when police raided Serong’s Pascoe Vale South home they found hundreds of child pornography images and a small number of videos on a computer and CDs.

Some of them depicted adult males engaging in sexual activity with children as young as three years old.

Judge Thornton said Serong had been involved for a number of years in raising money for children’s charities.

Serong pleaded guilty to one Commonwealth charge of grooming and to one state charge of possession of child pornography.

Judge Thornton sentenced Serong to two years on the grooming charge but said he should serve only three months and to six months on the child porn charge, wholly suspended.

The second charge carried a maximum of five years in jail.

The judge said Serong was convicted of stealing $10,000 from the Essendon District Football League umpires’ association in 2008 and sentenced to a community based order.


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