A Longfield man who groomed a 12-year-old girl on a social networking site has admitted three counts of sexual activity with a child and possessing more than 200 indecent images.
James Newman, of Longfield Avenue, began talking with the young girl over social media network ‘BearShare’ between January and May last year.
The girl told Newman she was 12, while he lied and claimed he was 18 years old.
Newman then began contacting the girl through Facebook and the pair talked on Skype regularly. The young girl suggested the pair meet in person and it was then that Newman came clean and admitted he was 23.
The pair met for the first time shortly after the girl’s 13th birthday at Rochester train station. They went for a drive and kissed on the lips. They then met up every week for the next three weeks.
On the second occasion they stopped at a place Newman bragged as being a place he ‘used to street race in’.
They engaged in sexual activity, which the girl consented to at first but she later withdrew her consent. Newman continued.
The victim reported that she either fell asleep or had a blackout and woke up afterwards, but states she did not take any drugs or drink any alcohol.
Two weeks later they met again and engaged in sexual activity. The girl later told Newman she thought she might be pregnant. He did not reply to her messages and stopped contacting her.
The teenager then spoke to a teacher at school and told them she was scared she might be pregnant.
Newman was arrested by officers from Kent Police on November 28 who seized his computer and phone.
The digital forensic unit carried out a detailed and thorough search of the computer and iPhone and found 213 indecent images.
He appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on 6 March and pleaded guilty to possession of indecent images of a child and three counts of sexual activity with a child.
He is due to be sentenced on 22 April.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Sunita Dale of Kent Police, said: ‘From the very outset, Newman knew the age of the young girl he began talking to on a social networking site.
"He pretended he was younger than he was to ensure he could continue the relationship.
‘Newman set out to groom this young girl, who was vulnerable because of her age, with the intention of engaging in sexual activity.
‘I would like to praise the victim who showed courage and bravery in providing police with sufficient evidence to convict Newman.
"When officers arrested him at his address, Newman’s computer was storing a vast amount of abhorrent images, depicting the abuse of children.
"Illegally produced images are made to fuel the demand from offenders like Newman, and it is quite right that he faces imprisonment for accessing images of this type.
"If anyone knows of or suspects child abuse to be taking place then they should report it to us and we will investigate it thoroughly.’
DC Dale added: ‘While the internet is a fantastic facility, I would urge parents and guardians to be conscious of how children are using it and to speak to them about dangers of talking to strangers online.
"Kent Police works closely with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center and their website contains lots of advice on how parents can further protect their children."
For further information on how to protect your child online, visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk