Boy left traumatised after being abused by man on Facebook

The Gosport youngster was sent sexualised messages on Facebook
The Gosport youngster was sent sexualised messages on Facebook

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A HEARTBROKEN mother has spoken of her son’s ordeal after being abused by a paedophile on Facebook.

The Gosport mum, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said her 14-year-old son had been severely traumatised and was frightened to go out.

It comes as 27-year-old Stephen Greenwood was convicted of child sex offences after sending sexual messages on social media.

Greenwood pleaded guilty to two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Prosecuting barrister Tammy Mears told Portsmouth Crown Court: ‘The boy was on Facebook.

‘Greenwood was on the same website. He sent him a message.

‘At the beginning the content of the message was general chit-chat.

‘However, the content then became sexualised on the part of Greenwood.

‘He told the boy he thought he was cute.

‘He said “don’t let anybody see this”.’

Greenwood then made suggestions of sex acts and sent the boy a picture of his genitals.

Ms Mears added: ‘The boy describes himself as being scared. He was crying and shaking.

‘He told Greenwood he would be going to the police.’

Greenwood initially told police he believed the victim was 16, but later admitted he knew the boy was underage.

Defence barrister Stephen Parish said: ‘He does not know why he did it.

‘He’s sorry, he’s ashamed. He regrets it.’

He added: ‘It was a stupid drunken frolic with no intention of carrying it out.’

Judge Sarah Munro QC sentenced Greenwood, of Brewers Lane, Gosport, to a three-year community order.

She said a jail sentence would not give him enough time to attend a full rehabilitation programme for sex offenders.

Greenwood had been in custody since the offence in July, but was released after the sentencing.

He will have to attend 84 sex offender group sessions, will be on the sex offenders’ register, and his internet search history will be monitored.

Judge Munro said: ‘Your messages became increasingly sexualised. You told him that you liked sex with boys.

‘He was clearly very distressed by what you said to him.’

Afterwards, the mum said: ‘His ordeal is over now, my son’s is just beginning.

‘He’s frightened. He thinks there’s something wrong with him. [My son] can’t understand why he would have done this.’

She said she was disappointed with the sentence, adding: ‘I think the law needs to be looked at again for child sex offenders. They keep being let out.’

Children or adults who are worried about potential child abuse on social media can get help from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

People can report information at ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/. There are options for different ages of children, as well as parents and carers.

If you need immediate help call 999.

TIPS FOR CHILDREN TO STAY SAFE ONLINE

n Don’t post any personal information online, such as your address, email address or mobile number.

n Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself.

Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online, most people can see it and may be able to download it – it’s not just yours any more.

n Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.

n Don’t befriend people you don’t know.

n Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your parent or carer about people who suggest that you do.

n Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.

n If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried, leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.

*Advice provided by safetynetkids.org.uk