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This man was found guilty of having sex with a 14-yo girl. And he has walked free from court.

The jury was unanimous – Franco Abad was guilty of sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16, a verdict that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

But yesterday, the former Children’s Court security guard walked away from court a free man, after a Victorian judge decided he’d been duped into believing his victim was of legal age.

Judge Christopher Ryan handed the 32-year-old a two-year good behaviour bond, after acknowledging that his 14-year-old victim appeared “worldly”, “older than her years” and that Abad was “not made of steel”, reports The Age.

Abad first met the girl outside the Children’s Court of Victoria building in July last year, and reportedly subsequently engaged in a sexual relationship with her that lasted several weeks.

Yesterday, the court heard that Abad was under the impression she was 17 until police advised him she was a 14-year-old living in a Department of Human Services-run residential care unit.

Abad was then charged with having sex with the child once more in August 2015 despite the police warning.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Ryan said he had “little doubt” that, prior to being told otherwise, Abad believed his victim of was above the legal age of consent.

According to The Age, he also suggested that the pair had “desires that [had] been satiated mutually over a period of weeks”.

Speaking of the pair’s final encounter, Judge Ryan appeared to express sympathy for Abad, who had reportedly ended the ‘relationship’ that day.

“Then he goes to bed and is joined by a young woman. Well, he’s not made of steel,” he said, according to The Age.

“There’s nothing unnatural about having sex.

“[One] ought not deal with this in a puritanical way.

“The human aspect of it is readily understandable, if I can put it that way.”

In delivering the sentence, Judge Ryan stated that Abad, who has remained unemployed since being charged, had received sufficient punishment and was unlikely to re-offend, saying he was “absolutely satisfied that this man has learned his lesson.”