Echuca BMX blackmailer was creating his own 'internet teen harem'

Fabian Meharry. Picture: INSTAGRAM
Fabian Meharry. Picture: INSTAGRAM

A man who blackmailed children into sending him sexual videos of themselves was grooming his next victim when he walked free from court after being convicted for having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

Fabian Meharry, 28, is facing time in prison after pleading guilty over 62 child sexual crimes against 22 victims between 2006 and 2015.

His victims were aged between 11 and 17 years and are understood to be from all across Australia.

In the County Court in Melbourne on Tuesday, Judge Elizabeth Gaynor likened his crimes to creating a personal "internet teen harem" of young, immature girls.

Judge Gaynor said at the pre-sentence hearing that he used his "street cred" as a BMX-rider who sold wax for bikes and skateboards, to attract his victims.

In 2008, the court was told, Meharry had been given a wholly suspended sentence for sexual crimes against a 13-year-old girl.

Fabian Meharry. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Fabian Meharry. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Meharry was 18 when he started talking to the girl online and formed a sexual relationship with her in real life.

He was convicted in 2008 of three counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16, two counts of an indecent act with a child under 16 and one count of possessing child pornography.

When Judge Irene Lawson sentenced him, she remarked that he had not used "coercion or force" on the girl and did not deliberately exploit her. 

She said his offending was a result of depression and need for fulfilling relationships he lacked at the time, and warned him that his behaviour was unacceptable.

"...You are going to have to learn for the future if you are going to be forming relationships, it must be relationships that are age appropriate and you must ensure that the person with whom you do engage in intimate sexual relationships is of an age where she can provide consent. Do you understand that?"

Meharry replied: "Yes, your Honour."

But unbeknownst to Judge Lawson, Meharry was during this time also grooming his next victim, who was 14 when he first asked her to take her clothes off for him online, in 2006.

The earlier sentencing remarks were discussed on Tuesday after defence counsel Christopher Farrington argued his client had expressed remorse for his crimes, and been shocked and disgusted at the young age of his victims.

Judge Gaynor said this was hard for her to accept, particularly as he was "running this on the side" while Judge Lawson had warned him about his behaviour.

The judge said Meharry had exploited his "street cred" to attract victims. Others charged over child pornography, she said were socially inadequate and found it difficult to form age-appropriate relationships.

While he was not exclusively attracted to children, Judge Gaynor said Meharry was attracted to the power he had over younger, vulnerable girls.

She remanded Meharry to be sentenced on March 22.