A KYNETON man sent sexually explicit messages and videos to undercover police pretending to be three underage girls, a court has heard.
Daniel Charles Edwards, 42, appeared in the County Court on Friday after he pleaded guilty to two counts of using a carriage service to groom a person he believed to be under 16, one count of using a carriage service to transmit "child pornography material", and one count of using a carriage service to transmit a communication to someone he believed to be under 16.
The court heard on April 9, 2018, Edwards befriended a person on Facebook who he believed was a 15-year-old girl.
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A covert police officer was actually operating the Facebook account.
After confirming her supposed age, Edwards sent several messages to the girl over the course of two days.
Edwards asked the girl if she would kiss him and meet him in Kyneton. He also sent her a message saying, "I am too old for you because you are 15".
Edwards attempted to call the girl on two occasions but the calls were unanswered.
He tried to contact the girl on Facebook again in June 2018 but did not receive a response.
On July 17 that year, Edwards contacted the same girl using a different Facebook account.
He sent her a number of messages, including several asking if she loved him and if she would meet up with him.
Edwards also sent several sexually explicit messages to the 15-year-old.
The court heard Edwards tried to call the girl again on July 17 but the call was not answered. Contact between Edwards and the 15-year-old stopped that day.
On July 24, Edwards befriended another girl on Facebook who he believed to be 13 years old. A covert police officer was again operating the account.
Edwards asked the girl's age and she told him she was 13. He then sent her several messages, including asking if she would kiss him.
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Edwards also sent the girl several sexually explicit messages. He tried to call her that day but the call was unanswered.
The contact stopped on the same day after the girl stopped responding.
The court heard then on October 4, 2018, Edwards befriended a third girl on Facebook. The account, purporting to be a 14-year-old, was run by a covert police officer.
After the girl confirmed her age, Edwards sent several sexually explicit messages. He then sent her an animated clip, depicting a young girl being sexually abused.
Contact between Edwards and the 14-year-old girl ended that same day.
Edwards was arrested on March 6, 2019. He told police he recalled the conversation with the first girl but that she was "egging (him) on a bit".
He said he couldn't recall the second girl and that it was "wrong to talk to young girls on Facebook".
Psychological reports submitted to the court showed Edwards had a mild intellectual impairment and an IQ of 57.
The reports said Edwards had a moderate to high risk of reoffending. The psychologists said Edwards should engage in offence-specific programs to reduce that risk.
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Defence counsel Stephanie Wallace told the court Edwards was a "complex person" who needed support to address his risk of reoffending.
Ms Wallace submitted a community corrections order would be appropriate so Edwards could access the relevant services.
But prosecutor Francesca Holmes told the court an immediate term of imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence.
Ms Holmes said the need for general and specific deterrence was "paramount".
Judge Peter Lauritsen said he would prefer to sentence Edwards to a lengthy community corrections order.
He said he was contemplating conditions like unpaid community work, supervision, and offence-specific programs.
Judge Lauritsen ordered Edwards to undergo a community corrections order assessment.
The judge said regardless of the outcome of that assessment, Edwards would be on the sex offenders register for life.
Edwards is due to return to the County Court next week for sentencing. His bail was extended to his next court date.
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