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Groomer dodges prison


A middle-aged Tasmanian man who sent explicit text messages to a schoolgirl has avoided time behind bars but but will go on the sex offenders register for five years.

The man, whose name has been suppressed, is among the first offenders to be sentenced for the crime under its new name of "grooming with intent to procure a young person for sexual abuse", after pleading guilty before a Magistrate last October.

The Supreme Court heard the 16-year-old victim was a friend of one of the offender's children.

Chief Justice Alan Blow handed down a five-month suspended sentence and a $2500 fine. 

"It is clear that you have been very embarrassed about what you did. Your current partner, your former wife, family members and acquaintances are apparently all aware of your offending," said his Honour in the telephone sentencing hearing. 

"Well before the restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic came into force, you had isolated yourself from previous friends and acquaintances because of your embarrassment.

"There is a risk that you might lose your employment if your employer learns of your crime. As it happens, the Court will not be publishing your name – not for your sake, but in order to protect the girl whom you tried to seduce.

"I accept that you are ashamed of yourself, very sorry that you did what you did, and conscious of the impact on the girl that you contacted."