A SEX predator who pressured a 13-year-old boy he met on Facebook into taking and texting a naked photo of himself will spend the next six months in jail.
Aidan Leslie Lewis, 26, of Findlay Street, Portland, last Friday pleaded guilty in Warrnambool County Court to using a communications service to groom a person aged under 16 years for sexual activity, using a communications service to have child pornography sent to him and two counts of accessing child pornography. Judge Bill Stuart said the case was a classic example of the type of grooming legislation was designed to address.
Lewis was yesterday convicted and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment with six months to serve before he starts a two-year good behaviour bond. The offences were uncovered when the victim’s mother found a naked photo on her son’s phone.
In a victim impact statement, she said it was horrific to find her son had been the victim of such a predator.
The boy said he had been emotionally traumatised, embarrassed and humiliated and his parents now had a hard time trusting him.
Police said that on May 25 last year the accused made contact with the teenager using the false account name of Aiden Ryan and began sending private messages through Facebook. Those messages were exchanged for three days before the defendant asked for and obtained the victim’s mobile telephone number.
Between May 28 and May 30, 228 text messages and two phone calls were exchanged.
Lewis told the victim he wanted to chat on the phone and get to know him better while inquiring about his hobbies, whether he lived with his parents and his sexual preferences and practises.
The court heard that via the text messages, Lewis repeatedly asked for explicit photos but when the boy became cautious Lewis turned it to his advantage and made it a trust issue.
When the victim replied he may not have enough credit on his phone, Lewis transferred $5 to it.
The following day he again repeatedly asked for a “hot pic with pants off”. The victim took a photo of his genitals on his mobile phone and sent it to Lewis.
On August 11, police executed a search warrant at Lewis’ home and seized a mobile phone and three computers.
A forensic examination of the computers revealed 51 images and nine videos, with some sexually explicit and most involving child exploitation.