A MAN who had a five month sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl in Maryborough was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.
The 22-year-old, who the Chronicle have not named in order to protect the girl, pleaded guilty in Maryborough District Court to 20 charges, including five of carnal knowledge with a minor and eight indecent treatment of a child under 16.
The court heard the man engaged in a sexual relationship with the teenager after a mutual friend introduced them more than two years ago.
The pair would meet in secret, including at a school dance, before heading away in his car to private locations where the sexual activity occurred.
Crown prosecutor Susan Hedge said throughout the relationship there were no threats made to the girl.
Ms Hedge read a victim impact statement to the court regarding the incidents.
"She now feels that she may have made different decisions," she said.
The court heard in hindsight the girl felt she may have been manipulated.
Ms Hedge said the law was in place to protect children from making decisions.
"Even if children agree to it, it can damage their lives," she said.
"It was (the man) who was the adult and he should have protected her by exercising control," she said.
Ms Hedge said police had spoken to the man after the teen's family had complained but not reported the sexual contact.
Police warned him to stop contacting the girl but the man ignored that and sent the girl a further five sexual picture messages.
Defence barrister Paul Rutledge said the man had been sheltered after being home schooled from a young age.
He said the man had previously done charity work in Fiji and as a teenager taken a leadership role for the youth group at his church.
Judge Michael Noud sentenced the man to one year and one day in prison which he had already served in pre-sentence custody.
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