Sex tryst mum freed

ONLINE sex tryst mum Barbara Case will be on her way home to the United States tomorrow.The married 36-year-old mother of three sobbed in the Bendigo County Court today as she was sentenced to 16 months jail for having sex with a 15-year-old Bendigo boy she met through the internet last year.Her sentence has been suspended for two years.Case was warned if she committed further offences she would have to serve the jail sentence.Speaking outside court, Case said it had been hard to be away from her children.Her lawyer Megan Aumair said Case was “incredibly relieved’’.“She wants to put it all behind her now,’’ she said.The pair hugged inside court after Case was sentenced.The woman, who had flown halfway around the world from Virginia on the US east coast to meet the boy in May, was emotional during her sentencing.Crying several times, she wept when she realised she would be returning to America immediately.Ms Aumair told the court she would be contacting the US embassy to organise Case’s return.Case’s husband Phillip declined to comment today when contacted by The Advertiser.Speaking from his home last month, he said his wife had never been in trouble before, and that she was a “quiet woman’’.“I knew she had a friend in Australia, someone that she had met (through) the game,’’ he said.“I thought they were friends . . . someone she could talk to and help her.’’Pleading guilty to two charges of sexual penetration of a child under 16, Case met the boy through an online game called Runescape on Christmas Day last year, the court was told.“You knew he was 15, and you corresponded regularly,’’ Judge Tim Wood said.In May, Case, with the support of her family, flew to Australia to meet the boy.They spent their first night together in a holiday park cabin in Bendigo.Over the following 11 days, the pair had intercourse on eight occasions, and engaged in oral sex three times.They were caught when the boy’s parents became concerned and contacted police.Judge Wood said Case, a deli manager who is studying online to become a radiology technician, had been suicidal and suffered from postnatal depression following the birth of her third child in 1999.He said Case was unlikely to re-offend.“You understand your conduct was inexcusable and morally wrong,’’ he said.Judge Wood said despite the seriousness of the offence, Case’s crime sat at the lower end of the scale.“All offending of this nature is grave . . . however by comparison your offending is not as insidious,’’ he said.Judge Wood said there was no “useful purpose in delaying (her) release’’.Case was sentenced to 16 months jail, suspended for two years. With 112 days already served in custody, she was released immediately.She will be registered as a serious sexual offender for the rest of her life.Earlier, the court was told that once Case returns to the United States, she may face criminal charges from the FBI.