By Louisa Rebgetz.
A 49-year-old Victorian man who travelled to Queensland to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex has been sentenced to 18 months’ jail by a Brisbane court.
Shane Douglas Grapsas pleaded guilty in the District Court to a number of charges including grooming, indecent communication with a child under 16 and accessing child pornography.
The court heard Grapsas started communicating with someone he thought to be 18 years old, via the dating website RSVP.
In reality, he was chatting to an undercover police officer who eventually told Grapsas she was only 14 and still in school.
The pair communicated over Skype and also via text messages.
Grapsas sent her pictures of his penis and encouraged her to send him similarly explicit images.
The court heard Grapsas organised to meet the girl in Brisbane in December 2014, but when he arrived at the rendezvous he was arrested by police officers.
His mother and partner were in court to hear the graphic details of the case.
Commonwealth prosecutor Aimee Sanderson told the court Grapsas started contact by saying: “Your profile got my attention, want to chat?”
Ms Sanderson said the girl told him she was on the online dating website because she was curious.
Grapsas was ‘in a personal rut’
Defence lawyer John McInnes told the court his client was “not someone who has struggled with debilitating psychiatric illness”.
He said Grapsas had been in a “personal rut” and “behaved stupidly”.
He said the “tone of conversation was somewhat juvenile”.
“There are a combination of circumstances that make the case exceptional. He didn’t go looking for 14-year-olds,” Mr McInnes said.
He said his client’s search parameters on the website were to catch females between the age of 18 and over 100 years old.
Prison ‘the only appropriate sentence’
In sentencing, Judge Brendan Butler told the court he took into account Grapsas’ early guilty plea but said a custodial sentence was necessary.
He told Grapsas he encouraged someone he thought was a young girl to respond to him sexually in “gross” ways through the language used, the acts proposed and the images he sent.
“I am satisfied the only appropriate sentence is one of imprisonment,” he said.
Judge Butler said he took into account the fact that Grapsas was unlikely to reoffend.
“I accept that you’ve shown significant remorse,” Judge Butler said.
Grapsas was sentenced to 18 months jail suspended after six months.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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