A MAN who had sex with a 15-year-old girl after meeting her through Facebook has avoided going to jail.
Wayne Plater was 22 when the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sent him a message on the social networking site.
The pair regularly exchanged emails before Plater went to the girl’s home.
They had sex for the first time at his Gosport home in October 2009 and the next day Plater took her to a chemist in Brockhurst to get the morning after pill.
Even after the girl’s father warned Plater to stay away from the child he continued to see her and told her they would have a life together, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.
Frank Privett, prosecuting, said that on one occasion Plater took the girl to Asda when she was wearing her school uniform.
The relationship lasted a number of weeks before the girl went to the police after one of her teachers overheard her talking to a friend about it.
Plater, 23, of Pelham Road, Gosport, pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual activity with a child.
Matthew Farmer, defending, said: ‘Wayne Plater expresses the greatest remorse for having committed these offences. He became involved when he was contacted on Facebook by the girl.’
The court heard Plater, who has no previous convictions, was ‘immature’ for his age.
Plater was given a nine-month prison sentence – suspended for a year – after the judge said the facts of the case meant he could impose a lesser sentence than the guidelines recommend.
He will also have 12 months of supervision from the probation service.
Judge Richard Price said: ‘I have imposed a significantly lesser sentence because of the following matters.
‘First of all, your age. Secondly her age, she was a 15-and-a-half-year-old. Thirdly the information about your own maturity.’
He added: ‘The girl had taken the lead on more than one occasion. Finally the interview that she had reads as an ordinary boyfriend and girlfriend relationship.
‘In all respects this was an entirely consensual relationship.’
Plater will also be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.