A Hobart man who had sexually explicit conversations in internet chatrooms with underage girls has been sentenced to more than three years in jail.
Duncan Francis Cook, 33, pleaded guilty to 28 charges in the Supreme Court in Hobart.
He was charged with 17 counts of using a carriage service to send indecent communications to a person under 16 years of age, 10 counts of using a carriage service for child pornography material and one count of possessing child exploitation material.
The court heard the then-28-year-old computer programmer sent messages graphically describing sexual acts to girls as young as 12 over six months in 2012 and 2013.
He also encouraged young girls to send sexually explicit photos and instructed a 12-year-old girl on how to pose sexually and send him the pictures.
Police officer posing as young girl leads to arrest
Cook was caught after he sent a sexually explicit photo to a Queensland Police officer who was monitoring the chatroom.
The matter was referred to Tasmania Police who then searched his home and seized computer equipment and hard drives.
The court was told Cook used the chatrooms as a substitute to personal sexual encounters and he usually claimed to be younger than he was.
Cook justified his behaviour on the high probability the people he was talking to were adults and not children, the court heard.
In sentencing, Justice Shan Tennent rejected that argument and said she was satisfied Cook “deliberately targeted young females on a regular basis until he was caught”.
Justice Tennent said there was significant public interest in protecting children from predatory use of the internet.
Cook was sentenced to three years and four months in jail. He will be eligible for release after serving 22 months.