Thursday, March 10, 2011

Internet predator approaches 1,000 girls on Facebook

(U.K.) A homeless man who approached more than 1000 teenage girls for sex on social networking site Facebook was yesterday jailed for having intercourse with an underage girl.

Dylan Lewis, 21, who is originally from Bethesda, North Wales, admitted taking the fifteen year old to a B&B in Holyhead, Anglesey, where they had unprotected sex five times.

Mold Crown Court heard how he had met the teenager on the internet and that he had confessed to a probation officer that he had approached around 1,000 teenagers for sex.

Online targeting

The court heard that 15 of those he approached agreed to meet him at a B&B and stay overnight with him but that he had been too nervous to take matters further.

Prosecuting barrister Gordon Hennell told the court that the girl had changed from her school uniform into casual clothes, and that they then caught a bus to Holyhead where they found a B&B.

He said: 'He met her over the internet, he asked her to meet up with him. She was aware that he was 21 and he knew that she was 15 because her date of birth was on her Facebook profile.

'On Facebook he told her he loved her, that he wanted to make love to her, and she seemed to be under some peer pressure to lose her virginity,' Mr Hennell explained.

He added that on the night in question the Lewis had a swig of cider and offered some to the girl, but she declined.

'Sex was consensual but it was clear that he initiated it and that she went along with what he was suggesting,' he added.

Lewis admitted two charges of sexual activity with a child and was jailed for 27 months.

He was placed on the sex offender register for ten years and a ten year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) was made under which he is banned from befriending any young people under 16. It also places constraints on his use of the Internet.

Judge Peter Heywood said that it seemed that Lewis had an interest in girls of that age and that he had targeted them in the past with a view to meeting them.

He added: 'You contacted her via Facebook, you and she met, she bunked off school and went to your home to change. You both then went off to look for somewhere to stay and ended up in a B&B in Holyhead. You then had sexual intercourse. That in my view is a serious offence that clearly passes the custody threshold. There was a significant difference in your ages.'

He said that Lewis' actions were 'disturbing' and 'a matter of significant concern' while adding that there were factors which could lead him to the view that Lewis was dangerous, a risk of committing further offences in relation to young girls.

But he told the court, the defendant did not meet the criteria for a sentence for public protection or an extended sentence. He said those options were not available to him.

However, the judge said he hoped that the SOPO would ensure that he did not commit such offences again and accepted that the girl had consented to what took place.

But he added that the legislation was there 'to protect young girls from themselves' stressing 'I accept that when intercourse took place between you, she was a willing partner. She was not coerced in to going with you. She did it of her own free will.'

The court heard that the girl had played truant from school and had been reported missing.

Paulinus Barnes, defending, said that while Lewis had previous convictions there was nothing of a sexual nature and argued that there was a disparity of age but it was not of a great magnitude and it had been an entirely consensual agreement.

Lewis did not accept that there had been any manipulation.

He said: 'They met on the Internet and both were keen to meet.'

The court also heard how Lewis had a sad and troubled background. There was no family in court to support him.

Lewis was not particularly mature but had led a rather solitary life, in and out of hostels, and was currently of no fixed abode, said Mr Barnes.

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