A 36-year-old man who admitted to seducing a teenage girl on Facebook while he was on the state's Child Protection Register has been sentenced to at least one year and nine months in prison.
Jason Eric Senior, a self-described "lifestyle creator" and "freedom facilitator", was a prolific user of social media, and posted live videos to his followers describing his need for "me time" during a visit to the 14-year-old girl's family home.
Appearing via audio video link on July 9, Senior sat motionless as Bega Local Court Magistrate Doug Dick sentenced him to two years and four months in prison for indecently assaulting the South Coast girl, procuring the teen for unlawful sexual activity and failing to comply with his reporting obligations.
"I must protect protect the community and young people need protecting," Magistrate Dick told Senior during sentencing.
Court documents reveal Senior first met his victim through a family friend at a karaoke party before exchanging thousands of messages, and almost daily phone and video calls via Facebook with the girl between July 2017 and his arrest in 2018.
In August last year Senior, from the Sydney suburb of Wallacia, arranged to visit the girl's family for a "number of days". During the visit Senior kissed the girl on the lips while they watched television on the couch.
After Senior's return visit the next weekend her step-mother became suspicious of the girl's "secretive behaviour" and, after questioning the girl about the relationship, was told about the kiss and reported the incident to police.
Senior was arrested by the Far South Coast Child Abuse Squad and charged at Penrith Police Station on November 9 last year. He was denied bail and had been held in protective custody during court proceedings.
Despite two of the offences carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years, Magistrate Dick told the court during sentencing an arrangement had been made between the Director of Public Prosecutions office and the man's lawyer Ines Chiumento to keep the case in the Local Court.
Before sentencing prosecutors had earlier withdrawn a further charge of sexual intercourse with a person between the age of 14 and 16.
Police prosecutor Alice Pinkerton told the court Senior had "intended to build trust" with the victim and had sent her "sexually suggestive comments".
During sentencing Magistrate Dick questioned whether rehabilitation would be effective given Senior's background, which includes three previous offences of a sexual nature and being the victim of abuse as a child.
"He is a person who himself was the victim of a serious sexual offence at the hands of a 16-year-old neighbour," Ms Chiumento told the court. She said she had been unable to obtain a psychiatric report on her client before sentencing despite numerous attempts.
The court also heard Senior had been removed from the Child Protection Register between the middle of 2017 to the middle of 2018 due to an error before being put back on in July last year.
After sentencing Senior told the court he claimed to be unaware of his reporting obligations, which included notifying police of any interaction with children on social media within seven days.
A search of Senior's Facebook messages by police found before his arrest he had also initiated contact with a 16-year-old girl in an attempt to befriend her and had failed to report this contact to police.
Magistrate Dick sentenced Senior to 12 months jail for the indecent assault, two years jail for failing to comply with reporting obligations and two years for procuring the teen for unlawful sexual activity.
The three sentences, backdated to the time of Senior's arrest, will run concurrently. He will be eligible for parole in July, 2020.
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