Teen used dating apps to target young boys

A TEEENAGER who used dating apps including Grindr and Scruff to make illegal contact with children has been released from prison and ordered to attend sexual offending counselling.

Joshua Michael Slater's bail was cancelled in June this year following an accumulation of persistent offending in which he used Snapchat, Facebook, Grindr and Scruff to make contact with children.

Slater pleaded guilty to 12 counts of failing to comply with reporting and one count each of making child exploitation material, possessing child exploitation material and using a carriage service to access child pornography material in Ipswich District Court last week.

Between January and May this year the 19-year-old breached his reporting obligations 12 times by failing to report details of a tattoo and using social media to facilitate contact including actual contact with boys.

Slater was charged in February with making, accessing and possessing child exploitation material after he filmed two brothers aged 10 and 12 getting changed.

The court heard police seized Slater's mobile phone and found the videos along with 15 other images of boys about 10 years of age.

Five of the images were classed as category one child exploitation material.

The offending was committed two months after he pleaded guilty to other charges in court and the fresh offending came two months after he was charged with making, possessing and accessing child exploitation material.

Defence lawyer Stephen Kissick said Slater was "yet to identify his true sexuality".

He said the offending was "opportunistic, unsophisticated, and without a great degree of planning".

"The actual making and collecting in these types of circumstances is a little unusual for someone of my client's age," Mr Kissick said.

"He is a completely different person having been in custody.

"He is in a much more receptive position to take on board matters in his life that have put him in a position to engage in offending conduct."

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said Slater had "scant regard" for his "reporting requirements".

"It is disturbing and demonstrative of why there needs to be such reporting requirements," he said.

"It was deliberate, deceitful, orchestrated and persistent."

Slater was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment suspended for two and a half years and with 159 days pre-sentence custody declared.

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