Somerset

Somerset man who groomed boys on Facebook escapes ban

A Somerset man who used Facebook to groom boys has been allowed to continue using social networks after a judge decided banning him would be unfair.

Callum Dower, 19, of Queen Camel, near Yeovil, used the site to entice boys to send him naked pictures of themselves.

Judge Graham Hume Jones agreed with a plea that a ban would deprive him of "social traffic".

But Facebook said his profile had been disabled and he would now not be allowed to use the site.

At a previous hearing, Dower admitted six charges of making an indecent image of a child, five charges of causing or inciting a child to take part in pornography and two charges of sexual activity with a child.

He was sentenced to a three-year community order.

But defence barrister Patrick Mason told Taunton Crown Court a social network ban would be "particularly excessive".

Facebook said that it was against their terms and conditions for registered sex offenders to have accounts with the site.

Made advances

"We encourage people to report any users they think are in breach of our terms of use, either through the report links we provide on the site or through the contact forms in our Help Centre," said a spokeswoman.

Dower was aged 17 and 18 when he carried out the offences.

He would use Facebook to contact boys aged 14 and 15 and make homosexual advances towards them.

He urged them to send him lewd images via their mobile phones and if they refused he posed as girls called "Georgina", "Georgia", "Georgie" and "Jade".

He would then send the boys images of naked girls in return for lewd images of themselves.

He molested one boy in a supermarket toilet and another in a car park.

He was found out when one boy became suspicious that two pictures sent to him by "Georgina" seemed to be of two different girls.

Brendon Moorhouse, prosecuting, told the court: "She was a complete fiction. She was a person concocted by Dower to continue his sexual conversations with these boys."

The court also heard he had already been warned by police about his affection for teenage boys.

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