A KYNETON man who admitted to child grooming charges has avoided time in prison.
Daniel Charles Edwards, 42, was sentenced in the County Court on Wednesday 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 and tried to call her twice over the course of two days.
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 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 unanswered.
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 sent her several messages, including asking if she would kiss him. He also sent the girl several sexually explicit messages and tried to call her.
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.
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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.
Edwards was arrested on March 6, 2019. He told police it was "wrong to talk to young girls on Facebook".
Psychological reports submitted to the court showed Edwards had a mild intellectual impairment and was at a moderate to high risk of reoffending.
Judge Peter Lauritsen said the reports also noted Edwards tended to have an emotional response rather than a rational one, which reduced his moral culpability.
Judge Lauritsen said he took into account Edwards' "reasonably early" guilty plea and the fact that time in custody would be more onerous for him given his intellectual impairment.
The judge said sentencing would be best served through rehabilitation rather than time in prison.
Edwards was convicted and sentenced to a two-year community corrections order.
He will be required to complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and offence-specific rehabilitation programs.
Edwards will be on the sex offenders register for life.
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