Man’s webcam frolic with 12-year-old boy

BRUCE Paterson is 51, a skillful engineer with no long-term partners.
The Ashwood man was jailed by Victoria’s County Court on 26 February after reaching out to a 12-year-old boy on the internet for sexual gratification.
He will be named on the state’s sex offenders register for life, having pleaded guilty to 11 charges of using the internet to procure a child under 16 for sexual activity.
In sentencing, Judge Gavan Meredith said Paterson had communicated with the 12-year-old boy on Skype and chatmail over 14 months up to February 2013.
During that time via webcam, Paterson and the boy viewed each other’s genitals, and the boy masturbated for the camera.
In October 2012, the boy’s mother first discovered suspicious communication on her son’s mobile phone. There was a reference to meeting ‘Steve D’ in the park. The boy told her he was in similar contact with four men.
Judge Meredith said the accused and child had met via a personal section on Craig’s List; the boy responding to a post advertising a want for homosexual activity with men.
The judge said there was no evidence that Paterson was the post’s author but he admitted knowing of the boy’s young age during their contact.
“The law expects an adult to take steps to avoid … sexual activity between an adult and a child,” Judge Meredith said.
Police raided Paterson’s home in July 2013, discovering the accused had communicated with the boy and 10 other usernames – purportedly all males under 16.
Judge Meredith said the prosecution was unable to prove each of those usernames were different people, and therefore 11 different victims.
Paterson argued that the boy instigated the park meeting discussion, that the accused had no intention of a face-to-face meeting but agreed only to maintain contact.
Paterson’s argument that his victim was a willing participant showed a “lack of appreciation for the seriousness of your conduct”, Judge Meredith said.
The court also disagreed that it would be unfair to bar Paterson from a working-with-children clearance. In the chatroom, the accused had desired to “see all of” his young victim and to lie together with “dicks touching”, Judge Meredith noted.
It was not possible to apportion how much harm Paterson caused the boy, given several men were involved. But Judge Meredith noted harm would be done when one was sexualised by an adult at the victim’s age.
Paterson showed remorse for inovolving young teens and vowed not to repeat the “lapse of judgment”, the judge said.
The electrical engineering honours graduate had an “impressive work history” with no prior convictions, but had been uncomfortable with his sexual orientation since his teenage years at Scotch College, the court heard.
He preferred to keep this private, finding comfort by chatting with gay and bisexual males on the internet. None of this led to long term relationships for Paterson, but he fell into explicit web-discussions with young teens.
The accused was jailed for three years but will be released under a recognizance release order after 12 months.
Under the order, he will be supervised and on a good-behaviour bond for three years, must pay $5000 security and be assessed for a sex offenders treatment program.
Paterson must report as a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.
His offence carries a maximum 15 years’ jail.


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