Man met boy, 12, on internet

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A man who met a 12-year-old boy through an Internet chatroom arranged to meet him in Cromer where they spent a night together, a court heard. Mark James, 21, knew the boy's age and yet continued to be in regular contact with the boy and they even discussed their love for each other over the Internet, Norwich Crown Court was told.

Christopher Morgan, prosecuting, said they also talked about explicit sexual matters over the Internet and in text messages to each other. Finally they arranged to meet and James travelled from his home in South Wales to Cromer to meet the boy and they spent the night in bed and breakfast accommodation. Mr Morgan said the relationship came to light when the boy, who had actively encouraged the relationship, told his mother who then contacted the police. Even then the boy continued to try to keep in contact with James. "It is a mark of how close they had become as the boy began to use the computer at another address to make contact with James and again and the two of them began to exchange terms of endearment." However when this was discovered and reported to police the boy sent a text message to James in which he said: "I love you. If you go down for this I would kill myself." [...]

He said they had been in contact through Internet chatrooms for a couple of months before they met in Norfolk and confirmed he had cuddled and kissed the boy. James, who lives at Railway View, near Tonypandy, South Wales admitted meeting with the 12 year-old boy following sexual grooming and was jailed for 12 months. He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for seven years and banned from working with children in the future. James was also prevented for five years from contacting children by phone, e-mail or text message or living in households with children under 16 apart from his own family.

Jailing him Judge Simon Barham accepted the boy concerned was "sexually precocious" but said: "There is a need to protect young children, even those like this boy who was only too willing to have a relationship with you. This is a very serious offence and it is one which inevitably carries a sentence of imprisonment." He said the sentence would have been longer if matters had gone further.

Katharine Moore, mitigating said the boy was in any view "sexually precocious" and said they were extremely fond of one another. She said the boy was the only person under 16 who James was in regular contact with and said: "James is 21 and still a young man himself." She said the stress of the case had taken its toll on him.

source: Article 'Man met boy, 12, on internet'; new.edp24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tBrand=edponline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED05%20Dec%202005%2016%3A06%3A51%3A387; EDP24; 5 December 2005