A Riverina man has narrowly avoided jail after he sent indecent text messages to a 13-year-old girl.
Nathan Frederick Ford, 44, faced Wagga District Court for sentencing on Friday after sending a total of 39 messages to the teenager over a 12-hour period.
Judge Gordon Lerve described the text messages as “completely disgraceful”.
“Without reciting them onto the record, they are highly sexualised and again refer to the offender’s desires and body parts and sexual organs,” Judge Lerve said.
"There was no attempt to meet the victim but, nevertheless, the exchanges were highly sexualised, extremely inappropriate, and, quite frankly, disgusting."
The girl’s step-father discovered what was going on when he saw her phone light up in the middle of the night with a text from Ford instructing her to delete the messages.
Crown prosecutor Edward Chen argued the court would not be able to find that the incident was isolated.
“There was a real child receiving these texts as opposed to an undercover police officer… there are actually corrupting consequences that should assume to have flowed from the offending,” Mr Chen said.
"The public expect, in the Crown’s view, that persons who engage in this conduct should go to jail even if no physical contact eventuates, because it does exploit and corrupt children.”
Mr Chen said Ford then tried to put the blame on the girl, who sent him 32 messages in return.
“In the pre-sentence report, the offender blamed the victim, he said she initiated the contact,” he said.
However, Judge Lerve said her involvement did not mitigate the crime.
"It’s the same type of logic dealing with consenting sexual acts from underage complainants – the law is there in part to protect them from themselves,” Judge Lerve said.
"The very substantial age disparity also elevates the matter in seriousness."
Ford was sentenced to 18 months’ jail, which was released immediately on a two-and-a-half year good behaviour bond that will involve supervision and a sex offenders’ program.
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