A KENDAL man has been sentenced after being caught engaging in sexual online chat with two people he thought were 13-year-old girls.
Ryan Dobson, 22, was snared by “paedophile hunters” representing two different vigilante groups who set up Facebook profiles purportedly of children.
Around the turn of 2019, Dobson continued to communicate with the pair, despite being told of their apparently tender ages. He engaged in sexually explicit chat on both Facebook and WhatsApp, and made requests for lewd audio clips.
Although the vigilantes planned to confront Dobson, Carlisle Crown Court was told today (MON) they decided against it, forming the view he was vulnerable and suffered from learning difficulties. Instead they alerted adult social services staff who, along with police, visited Dobson, who was arrested.
One indecent child image of category A – the most serious class – was recovered from an iPod, along with 28 category C images.
Dobson, previously of Peat Bank, Kendal, admitted two offences of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child; two of attempting to incite or cause a child to engage in sexual activity; making and possessing indecent photographs of a child; and possessing an extreme pornographic image.
The court heard he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and was on the autism spectrum. His lawyer, Paul Humphries, confirmed Dobson was vulnerable.
Dobson was given a three-year community order, must attend a sexual offending behaviour course and complete a rehabilitation requirement. He must sign the sex offenders’ register and abide by the strict terms of a sexual harm behaviour order, both for five years.
Judge Peter Davies said Dobson’s offences merited a jail term but concluded he wouldn’t get the help he needed behind bars. Instead, “experienced, skilful, diligent experts” would aim to to prevent him reoffending.
“It is not an easy option,” Judge Davies warned of the community order. “It is a serious punishment with which you must comply.”