A male who posed as a 16-year-old girl in order to get teenage boys to send naked images and videos of themselves via Facebook has been made the subject of a two-year probation order.
The defendant, who was 17 at the time, managed to hoodwink around 50 teenage boys into sending images of themselves to who they believed was a girl called Sarah-Louise.
A court order has been imposed, under the defendant’s human rights, banning any details which could lead to his identification being published.
He first appeared in the dock of Belfast Crown Court six months ago, when details emerged of his period of offending which spanned from 2011 to 2012.
Now aged 21, the defendant admitted a total of 18 offences including multiple charges of inciting a child to engage in a sexual act, as well as possessing indecent images of children, distributing an indecent photograph of a child and possessing an extreme pornographic image.
When the case was first heard in front of Judge Paul Ramsey in May, details emerged of how in March 2012 a report was made to police regarding a young male who had been contacted on Facebook by a 16-year old girl called Sarah-Louise.
Sarah-Louise – who it turned out was the defendant posing as a girl – has asked the teenage male in question to send ‘her’ naked pictures of himself.
The schoolboys were aged between 12 and 15, while the defendant was 17. An investigation was launched when it emerged that scores of other young local schoolboys has also been contacted by Sarah-Louise.
The defendant is currently on licence for separate sexual offences and is working with probation.
Sentencing in May was deferred for six months, and Judge Ramsey said that after reading the probation report – which concluded that the defendant was no longer deemed to represent a danger to the public – it “changed the landscape” of sentencing.