A YOUNG man with a "scary" child sex history used a mobile phone to contact three underage girls and to access child exploitation websites, Gympie Magistrates Court was told this week.
Magistrate M Baldwin said Patrick Francis Johnston, 24, of Monkland, sought to exchange sexually explicit photographs with one girl and claimed to be 16.
It was an age he thought would "entice them into contact" with him, she said.
"You came very close to doing serious harm to the girls, aged 12, 14 and 15."
Johnston pleaded guilty to charges from September last year of failing to report contact with children under 18 and failing to report changed internet accounts.
Although he was only charged with breaching reporting requirements, asking for photographs took the offence "into another realm," she said.
"People are entitled to have their childhood free of adults who want to prey on them."
Johnston had two previous convictions for indecent treatment of a child and was required for 15 years to report contact with anyone under 18 and any change to his internet accounts.
Taking into account 181 days already spent in custody, she placed him on immediate parole for another six months, as well as six months jail suspended for a three-year probation period.
"Your conduct was improper, probably criminal in some cases and certainly of a sexual nature," she said.
"We have to try to help you, but we have to protect the community," she said.