A MARRIED man who seduced a 13-year-old girl over the internet is behind bars after facing Bundaberg District Court on child exploitation and pornography charges on Thursday.
Benjamin Wade Higgs, a 32-year-old Bundaberg carpenter, was 30 when he seduced the girl, convincing her to send two naked photos of herself to his phone.
Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings said Higgs was well aware of the age of the girl.
“He did engage in some very unsavoury conduct with a very young girl,” Mr Cummings said.
“The girl has been corrupted to a degree.”
The court heard the girl sent two photos of her upper and lower naked body to Higgs who sent her a naked picture of himself.
Defence barrister Peter Nolan said his client’s marriage had been suffering at the time of the offences.
“It’s unfortunate... and very embarrassing,” Mr Nolan said.
Higgs pleaded guilty to nine charges including five of using the internet to procure a child under the age of 16, possessing child exploitation material and using a carriage service to access child pornography.
“Most right-minded people in the community find this sort of offending really reprehensible,” Judge Keith Dodds said.
“It seems this was moving beyond a mere fantasy.”
Judge Dodds said using the internet to access child pornography was “an insidious” thing to do.
“It seems to become addictive,” he said.
“Once you knew this was a 13-year-old girl, you should have stopped immediately.”
Judge Dodds said he was sure Higgs knew he was doing the wrong thing.
Higgs was sentenced to 12-months jail, suspended for three years after he serves three months and pays a $1000 good-behaviour bond.
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