Country musician avoids jail over webcam sex acts with child
AN Ipswich mum has revealed the horror of discovering a popular country music performer had exposed himself to her 12-year-son via a webcam.
Neil Clarence Duddy was sentenced, in Ipswich District Court on Friday, to nine months jail suspended for two years after pleading guilty to one count of indecent treatment of a child under 16.
He admitted to exposing himself to the boy over webcam.
The court heard Duddy added the boy on Facebook and they would communicate via webcam.
The statement of facts also stated Duddy referred to pornography during the webcam conversation.
The mother of the boy, who can't be identified, said her son had seen the graphic incident on their home computer before the child raised the alarm by telling his mum Duddy was "weird".
Duddy told the boy he "had broken up with his girlfriend and he was pleasing himself".
The 51-year-old country music performer was a popular fixture at hotels and venues around South East Queensland and first befriended the boy's mum when the boy was five.
The boy, who cannot be named for his own protection, took screen shots of the conversation and showed it to his mum.
She said it was a split-second decision to take the screen shots that led to Duddy being charged in an internet-driven society that meant children could not be protected against on-line predators.
"No matter how safe you think your child is, when a predator has their eyes on your child they are not safe," she said.
She said her son had become a recluse since the incident and had difficulty trusting males, including teachers and her son's bright and bubbly nature had changed.
"I have so many mixed emotions, I'm so cranky that someone could have done this. It makes me so sick and angry," she said.
"We can protect (our son), he never has to see him again but there was no warning. (Duddy) was a very nice and polite and friendly to everyone."
In sentencing Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said an internet-driven society had created the capacity for Duddy's type of offending.
"As parents by giving our children access to the internet we are putting in their hands the capacity to be offended against," he said.
Judge Horneman-Wren said there were exceptional circumstances in this case and it was the lowest end of the scale for this type of offence.
He said it was a brief and isolated event and took in account there was no physical presence, Duddy's remorse and said apart from this incident, Duddy was a person of good character.
Judge Horneman-Wren also took in to Duddy's early guilty plea and suspended the sentence on grounds Duddy had no criminal history.
He also said he believed the court process was enough of deterrence for Duddy to avoid similar situations.
Duddy pleaded guilty to one count of indecent treatment of a child under 16 by exposure and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years.