A Halifax man who had sex with a 14-year-old boy after they had communicated over Facebook has been sentenced to a three-year community order.
Homosexual Martin Grant, 25, now of no fixed abode, engaged in sexual activity with the youngster last October after meeting up with him at Halifax bus station.
Bradford Crown Court heard that the boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, believed he was homosexual and the two of them discussed sexual matters over Facebook.
When the boy was later questioned by police he said all the sexual activity was with his consent and he did not consider himself a victim.
Grant, who had no previous convictions for sexual offences, admitted the allegations relating to sexual activity with a child and the court heard that he had already spent four months in prison on remand.
His barrister Nigel Hamilton said that was equivalent to an eight-month jail term and Grant fully accepted his legal and moral responsibility for the offending.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said the case presented a difficult sentencing exercise because the law was aimed at protecting young complainants regardless of their own inclinations.
“They are at a formative stage and adults simply cannot, as it were, take advantage however willing the youngsters are,” noted the judge.
Under the terms of the three-year community order Grant will also be assessed for a sex offender treatment programme and he will also be subject to a five-year sexual offences prevention order which limits his contact with under-16s.
Grant will also have to register as a sex offender with the police of the next five years.
Judge Durham Hall said the probation service had supported a robust alternative to further imprisonment and if he sent Grant back to custody he would be released within months.
The judge said it was an unusual course and he warned Grant that he would get no second chances if he committed any further offences.
“(The boy) was very willing,” the judge told Grant.
“Inviting the attention and experimentation that went on and you were, with some hesitancy, in the end prepared for sexual gratification to have sex with the young man.”