Man jailed for underage sex

A Temuka man has been sent to prison for two years for having sex with an underage girl.

John Michael Hooper, 23, who had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual connection with a young person, was sent to prison yesterday in relation to his involvement with a 13-year-old girl.

He appeared before Judge Joanna Maze in the Timaru District Court.

Hooper was 22 at the time of the offending and was in a relationship with a woman his own age.

The court heard Hooper had paid attention to the young girl and asked her to be involved in his hobby of motorbikes.

Specific details of the offending were not heard in court, other than he had kissed the girl, gave her alcohol and exchanged contact with her via social media. The court also heard there were two acts of sexual intercourse on one occasion.

Judge Maze questioned Hooper's maturity and told him he had taken advantage of the girl's trust and vulnerability.

"In relation to an assessment of maturity, your position is such that you should not be treated as necessarily functioning the same as your chronological age."

Hooper was sentenced to two years in prison and is now subject to the three strikes rule, meaning if he is found guilty of any serious violent offence he will serve the sentence without parole or early release.

The Timaru Herald