A sex offender who paid a 13-year-old boy for unprotected sex after meeting him on a phone dating app has been given a five year jail term with an extended three year licence.
Recorder Mark Ainsworth told pervert David Monks, 58, of Golden Hill Lane, Leyland, the extended term reflected his dangerousness, adding: “It’s clear he has suffered a great deal by what has happened to him.”
Monks admitted three charges of paying a child for sex but argued the first occasion he believed the boy was 18 and on the others he believed he was 16.
Preston Crown Court heard the vulnerable Lancashire schoolboy had been a victim to others and had been left with a sexually transmitted disease.
Monks, who was convicted in 2005 of similar matters relating to two boys, met the victim on men’s dating app Grindr, and arranged to meet him at his campervan where he paid him for the acts.
Prosecutor Paul Brookwell revealed, on the second occasion the boy turned up in his school uniform, which would have made it obvious he was underage.
Monks was netted as part of a police operation. His sentence comes days after a Post investigation exposed how easy it is for children to lie about their ages to obtain profiles on such sites.
521 child sexual offences involving social media websites were reported to Lancashire Police in the last three years and 29 other under 16s were victims of crimes linked to online dating in the last five years.
Monks campervan, sofabed and mobile phones were forfeited.
DI Simon Cheyte said: “Monks committed these despicable offences against the victim who was just 13 years old at the time, meeting with him on numerous occasions and making no attempt to ascertain his true age.
"The manner in which he exploited and took advantage of the victim is beyond belief and I am pleased that he has now been brought to justice for his crimes.
“This case also serves as a warning to others. It is vital that young people understand the importance of staying safe online and parents can spot the signs that may indicate their child is being groomed.
"We would encourage anyone who has been, or knows someone who has been, sexually abused, groomed or exploited to come forward and contact police confident in the knowledge they will be dealt with sensitively and professionally."
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Online safety is a major 21st century child protection challenge. With more children accessing social media than ever before we are seeing an increase in incidents where offenders use apps and the web as the gateway for their crimes.
“Children should be safe to use the internet without being targeted by sexual predators. That’s why the NSPCC is calling for compulsory online safety lessons in schools to warn them about the dangers of social media.
“We also urge parents to talk to their children about what they share online, and who they share it with.”
Anyone seeking advice on online safety, including apps, can visit the NSPCC’s Net Aware guide at www.net-aware.org.uk
Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000, while young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk, 24/7 in confidence.