Teacher aide spared jail for 'grooming'
A 19-year-old teacher aide who sexually groomed a 12-year-old girl has been spared jail because he would be "assaulted in a variety of ways".
Kevin Dean McMillan was sentenced to 18 months intensive supervision and 200 hours of community work by Judge Roy Wade at the Auckland District Court this afternoon.
He was found guilty in August on one charge of meeting a young person for the purposes of sexual grooming while he was working at an Auckland school.
McMillan sent inappropriate text messages to the girl between August 16 and August 24 last year and arranged to meet her outside of school hours.
Judge Wade spared McMillan from a prison sentence because he believed the teenager would be regarded as "the lowest of low".
"You would be regularly assaulted, bullied and come out with no treatment whatsoever and an increased risk of reoffending," Judge Wade said.
McMillan had also "suffered substantially" in being publicly shamed, which would result in him not being able to pursue many career options and which would impair his sporting prospects as he is not allowed to supervise children.
A pre-sentence report submitted to the court showed that McMillan was "mightily chastened and realised that his previous fantasy life led him nowhere but into serious trouble".
Judge Wade warned McMillan that if he did not comply with a supervision order and complete rehabilitation he would find himself back in court and be resentenced to jail.
In a two-day trial in August before Judge Wade, the court heard McMillan had previously denied the charges, saying he had tried to cut contact with the child.
In video evidence of an interview McMillan had with a detective from the child protection team, showed to the court last month, he admitted at first he didn't see the girl as a student, but as a friend and had tried to cut contact with her.
Police collected "hundreds" of texts between McMillan and the complainant.
In one incident, where police allege he arranged to meet the child, McMillan said he saw the girl at the school around 6pm in the evening and offered to walk her home.
"Because it was late and because of daylight saving it was dark and she's the type of girl who would get into trouble easily," he said in his statement.
While McMillan was walking the child home, the 12-year-old alleged he typed into his phone: "I so badly want to kiss you".
During the interview, the detective said the 12-year-old claimed she was "grossed out" by some of the texts McMillan had sent her.
When asked why he approached her and offered to walk her home, McMillan said it was as a safety precaution.
He claimed he kept a "reasonable distance" and walked on the other side of the footpath.
"At that stage I didn't want to make things worse. I wanted to make sure I was not giving off that vibe," he said.
He said he tried to cut contact with the child.
"I said I couldn't text her anymore."