Man groomed child through Facebook

    A MAN who groomed a young girl via Facebook has been sentenced to 16 months in a young offenders institute.

    Michael Lee, 20, of Gonville Place, Cambridge was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on Monday (12 February), where he was also given a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) and placed on the sex offenders register, both for ten years.

    Lee contacted the 11-year-old girl in December 2016 through Facebook and struck up a friendship with her, gaining her trust and grooming her.  He then began sending suggestive and sexually explicit content before arranging to meet the girl just one week after they first had contact.

    The pair met in a park in Cambridgeshire during which Lee assaulted her by sexual touching.

    Just a few days later, worried about the victim’s recent behaviour, her parents checked her mobile phone and found concerning content, which they reported to police.

    Lee pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to one count of an adult meeting a girl under 13 of age following grooming and one count of assaulting a girl under 13 by touching.

    DC Laura Else said: “The victim showed incredible bravery in speaking to police after this traumatic experience.

    “This case highlights just how quickly online grooming can escalate and the predatory behaviour of those involved.

    “Lee knew how young his victim was and deliberately took advantage of her vulnerability for his own sexual gain.

    “The majority of people use social media to keep in contact with their friends and family but for some it can be used as a tool to groom children and young people.

    “We would encourage parents to explore sites and applications with their children, discuss what is appropriate for them based on their age and talk about staying safe and how to keep information private or block someone.”

    Further information about applications that are available can be found here https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks

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