A blackmaiiler who threatened to publish intimate photos of girls he befriended online says he accepts "90 per cent" of the blame - but says his 11-year-old victim should not have been on Facebook.
"What's an 11-year-old doing on Facebook when you have to be 13 to be on Facebook?" Brandyn Alan Stewart, 21, said yesterday.
He said he was not blaming the girls but added: "I take 90 per cent of the responsibility, but it takes two as well."
Stewart was speaking after being sentenced to 11 months' home detention on five charges involving girls aged 11, 14, and 16. In court it was said the youngest girl told him she was 14, but Stewart told police that she said she was 15.
Stewart's lawyer, Steve Gill, had told a judge in the High Court at Wellington yesterday that Stewart had no physical contact with the girls and it was all a "fantasy world online".
Stewart had posed as a 16-year-old on a Facebook page he created on January 7. By February he had 426 friends - all of them young females.
He used two names, Nick Davis and Cam Jackson or Cee Jay.
Justice David Collins said Stewart asked the girls to send him photographs of themselves naked or wearing only underwear.
Once he had the photographs he said he would post them online if they did not comply with his demands: having sex with the 16-year-old; demanding more photographs of the 14-year-old, and continuing communication with the youngest girl.
None of the demands succeeded.
The 11-year-old had sent photographs of herself from the neck down. One of them was sent to a female friend who recognised the girl's bedroom in the background. The girl told her mother and police were contacted.
Stewart pleaded guilty to a blackmail charge relating to each girl, and charges of doing an indecent act by inducing the two younger girls to take photographs of themselves.
Stewart told The Dominion Post that the photographs were deleted "pretty well straight away". He said he did not do everything he was accused of, and his motives were not as alleged, but he pleaded guilty so he would not go to jail.
Justice Collins said that Stewart had previously been convicted of offences "factually similar".
He took into account that Stewart was believed to have an attention deficit disorder, and had been prescribed the drug Ritalin from the age of eight.
A psychologist said the disorder significantly affected Stewart and contributed to his impulsiveness and his disregard for the consequences of his actions.
For the 11 months of his home detention sentence Stewart was banned from using any internet-capable device or having contact with anyone under the age of 16 unless directly supervised by an adult approved by the probation service.
He was also banned from having alcohol or illicit drugs for the 11 months, and must take treatment and counselling as directed.
His Samsung Galaxy phone, on which he accessed Facebook, was forfeited.
Facebook terms state that you should not be a member if you are younger than 13.
It also says it will not tolerate harassment, it is against sharing sexual content involving minors, and false identities violates its terms. It has a safety centre with advice for teenagers and their parents.
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