Social media app Snapchat was used by a 23-year-old man in an attempt to groom a young girl.
Social media app Snapchat was used by a 23-year-old man in an attempt to groom a young girl.

Man jailed for attempting to groom girl over Snapchat

A MAN has been jailed for sending a series of sexual messages to a girl, which included a photograph of his penis and attempts to procure the girl to "watch Netflix and chill".

Jace Kelly fronted Grafton Local Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to grooming a child under the age of 14 for unlawful sexual activity.

The court heard that on March 8 this year the 23-year-old began to send messages of a sexual nature to the victim via Snapchat. The victim showed her sister the messages, who helped the victim by using a secondary device to take photographs of the messages as well as helping to reply to the messages sent by Kelly.

According to court documents Kelly asked the victim if she wanted to make "easy money" with the offer of $100 for sexual pictures of the victim. He then asked the victim to come over to his house while his wife was not there to "watch Netflix and chill".

Court documents reveal Kelly in one of the messages to the victim he asked her to come to his house for "a bit of touching and kissing maybe something else".

The court heard that after continuing to ask for the victim to attend his home for sex Kelly then sent her a "dick pic" and told the victim not to tell anyone. After receiving the image the victim sent no further messages.

The following day the court heard the offender continued to message the victim on Snapchat, but she did not look at them until 6.50pm that night when in the company of her sister. The messages continued to ask for "sexy photos", and the victim shut down the conversation.

About 1.30pm on Wednesday March 11 the victim's mother reported to Maclean Police Station that her daughter had received Snapchat messages from Kelly requesting sexual acts and photographs, and had sent a photograph of his penis.

Maclean Police downloaded screenshots of messages and referred matter to the Coffs/Clarence Child Abuse Unit for investigation.

About 12pm on March 19 2020 Coffs/Clarence CUA detectives attended a property in Yamba and arrested Kelly, where he admitted to sending the Snapchat messages of a sexual nature to the victim and to sending her a photograph of his erect penis, but told police he didn't know why he did it.

During an interview with police he said he knew the victim's age at the time of the offences, and said he did it because he was in a "dark and lonely place".

Kelly told police he had seen a psychologist since the incident because he knew he "had things wrong" with him, and that he was remorseful for his actions.

In court on Tuesday magistrate Kathy Crittenden said Kelly's youth and immaturity were significant factors in his offending behaviour, and while noting an early guilty plea was a sign of remorse stated that nothing short of full-time imprisonment was appropriate.

Kelly was sentenced to nine months behind bars, with a non-parole period of five months. He will be eligible for release on May 7 next year.



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