Snapchat child sex offender avoids jail

A young Tasmanian man who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl after the pair agreed to meet via social media has avoided jail time.

Saxon John Horton, who had just turned 20, had unprotected intercourse with the girl in the early hours of January 20 last year.

He pleaded guilty earlier this week to indecent assault and one count of penetrative sexual abuse of a child.

Horton was on Tuesday sentenced in the Supreme Court of Hobart to nine months' jail, which was wholly suspended for 18 months.

Justice Michael Brett said while the prosecution agreed the sexual acts were consensual it also constituted serious criminal conduct.

Justice Brett said the decision to suspend the jail sentence was based on Horton's young age, the small gap between the girl's age and his own and his otherwise good character.

"You seem to be a young man who, in all respects other than your commission of these crimes, is law-abiding, hardworking, reliable and well regarded by those who know you, including your employer," Justice Brett wrote in sentencing comments.

Horton and the girl met after exchanging messages on social media. Shortly after the assault, she expressed regrets to a friend which led to police involvement.

In a victim impact statement, she explained she was experiencing serious ongoing psychological consequences.

"The sad reality is that it is reasonable to expect that the relevant consequences may not yet have fully manifested," Justice Brett wrote.

Justice Brett said it was evident that Horton was "well aware" of the girl's young age in an initial interview with police.

But he added there was nothing to indicate Horton's sexual assault was anything other than an isolated act and he was a low chance of reoffending.

Horton's name has been added to an offenders' register for three years.

Originally published as Snapchat sex offender avoids jail


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