‘Be my dirty little pleasure toy’: Man grooms teen
A Southern Downs man has walked free from court after pleading guilty to grooming a 14-year-old girl into an online sexual relationship, manipulating her into "submitting" to him and sending nude photos he stored on his phone.
Dawson Daniel Warren randomly added the Year 8 girl Facebook on November 17, 2019. The girl told him she was several years younger than him in their first day of communication and kept their conversation on topics such as football and art.
It only took a few days for the pair's messages to become sexual in nature, with the then-18-year-old man and recent Year 12 graduate becoming increasingly focused on "dominating" the girl.
The Warwick District Court heard the Texas man asked the 14-year-old to call him "daddy", coercing her into being "his pet" and "his dirty little pleasure toy" who should cut herself if she disobeyed him.
Crown prosecutor Amy Stannard said Warren persistently asked the girl for nude photos to "get him turned on", and while at first hesitant she eventually sent several pictures of herself in varying degrees of nudity.
The Texas man would often reciprocate with nude photos of his own, at one point sending the girl a video of him masturbating.
Ms Stannard said Warren became aware of the girl's true age and struggles with anxiety and body image only a few days into their relationship, and threatened to cut all contact with her when she told him she "didn't want any more of this dominant s -t, (she) wasn't submissive".
Warren and the girl arranged to meet in-person about a month after making contact, but the 14-year-old cancelled and their relationship ended a few days later.
Police then searched his Texas home on January 7 last year, where they found messages between the pair and photos of his victim on his mobile phone.
Defence barrister Jessica Goldie acknowledged her client was aware his victim was younger than 16 after only a few messages, but contended it was the Year 8 girl who initiated sexual exchanges in saying she was "more mature for her age", asking him for photos of himself, and suggesting names they could call one another, such as "daddy".
Ms Goldie added the Texas man was a recluse who struggled with social anxiety and bullying in high school, which was only heightened when he lost his job as a result of the grooming charges.
Warren pleaded guilty to one count each of grooming a child under 16 with intent to engage in a sexual act, using electronic communication to procure a child under 16, and possessing child exploitation material.
Judge Suzanne Sheridan sentenced him to three years' probation, saying the small age gap with his victim, otherwise clean criminal history, and evident remorse exempted him from the usually mandatory jail time attached to child exploitation offences.
No conviction was recorded.