A PERVERT who groomed a 14-year-old girl on the internet and persuaded her to meet him for sexual liaisons has been jailed for two years.
Michael Saunders first contacted the teenager on the social networking site Facebook then started chatting to her daily on an internet chat-room.
The 22-year-old made explicit sexual comments to her, asked her to send him naked pictures of herself and even asked if her could rape her.
Saunders then got the girl, who he knew before chatting to her on the internet, to come to his house where they engaged in sexual activity.
His crimes only came to light months later when the victim’s dad found messages on his daughter’s computer and confronted Saunders before reporting him to the police.
Last night the dad told how Saunders actions had “devastated” the family and warned other parents to be sure they know who their children talk to online.
He said: “The family have been devastated by this. This man was old enough to know what he was doing. He took advantage of our daughter and his actions have hurt our family greatly. She is still having counselling.
“I would like to warn other parents to be aware of what their children are up to on the internet.
“They need to be aware who their children are friends with on chat-rooms and social networking sites. We had spoken to our daughter about online safety but you can’t monitor what they are doing 24 hours a day. People can infiltrate your home through the internet, that is what happened here.”
Saunders, of Windsor Gardens, Alnwick, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to meeting a child following sexual grooming and sexual activity with a child.
James Adkin, prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court said the Saunders first contacted his victim at the beginning on last year on Facebook, then started chatting with her on MSN messenger.
He said: “They used to chat over the internet almost every night.
“The chat logs show increasingly graphic sexual references both before and after the sexual activity.
“Disconcertingly he asked ‘Can I come and rape you?’”
It was after months of online chatting that Saunders persuaded the youngster to meet him.
“What happened with regard to the meeting was the defendant asked her to visit him at his address. He told her to be careful as she approached the address,” Mr Adkin said.
The girl met Saunders once more at his home and once at her’s when sexual activity took place, before the victim’s father became aware. Mr Adkin said: “By pure chance, her father discovered what was going on between the defendant and his daughter.
“Her laptop computer was left on and he went on to the computer and looked at the graphic conversations between her and the defendant.”
The dad first confronted Saunders, who claimed he had been drunk, then reported the matter to police.
Saunders was arrested and claimed he thought the girl was 15 before admitting the charges. Julie Clemitson, defending, said: “He accepts it was wholly inappropriate and unsavoury. The messages started out as banter, he didn’t set out to identify a particular victim. He lives with the disgrace and shame on a daily basis. Prison would ruin his life, as the parents feel it has ruined their daughters life.”
Ms Clemitson added that 10 character testimonials written by family and friends of the defendant had been submitted to the court.
Judge Michael Cartlidge, sentencing, said he accepted the sexual activity had been consensual.
He said: “The testimonials I have read see the defendant as a decent, honest and hard-working person but what I have to sentence him for suggests there is another side to him. He is not trustworthy and has betrayed a child and her family.
“It is not difficult to imagine the sort of stress this has caused them, in a relatively small community.
“I have to make it plain to men that children are to be protected.
“He seems to have some perverted views about dealing with others.”
Saunders was put on the sex offenders’ register for six years and his contact with children will be limited under a sexual offences prevention order.