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A Judge has accused Instagram of providing a platform for paedophiles by hosting a kinky sex chat site for men who fantasise about dominating young girls.
The judge at Exeter Crown Court criticised the social media company as he jailed a 39-year-old man who used Instagram’s Daddy Dom Little Girl community to groom a vulnerable 15-year-old schoolgirl.
Dominic Nielen-Groen sent a stream of messages to the girl before driving 167 miles from his home in Wolverhampton to meet her at a play park in Seaton, East Devon.
He hugged her but she became alarmed when he tried to get her to suck a baby’s dummy. She went home but he carried on sending messages trying to set up a second meeting on the beach or at a nearby nature reserve.
Computer engineer Nielen-Groen used the name Papa Bear on the Instagram community, where the girl attracted more than 3,000 followers in the space of a few weeks after registering with the name F****** Little Brat.
She lured into engaging in sexualised chat with scores of older men, sometimes exchanging messages with 500 at a time, and sold images of her naked breasts or bottom to older men who paid her through Paypal.
She developed severe behavioural problems and her mother made a victim impact statement said she now has screaming rages and has attempted to take her own life three times.
The girl remained in Instagram’s Daddy Dom Little Girl (DDLG) community for months before the tech giant removed her account. Police traced Nielen-Groen after the girl contacted police early this year.
Police who searched his home found another dummy and a collar with the words Little Girl in his bedroom along with a 50 Shades style contract setting out rules and punishments.
The punishments included spanking, self spanking, slaps, cold baths, being tied up, as well as time out and no television or internet.
Some rules and penalties were overtly sexual, including bans on masturbation and taking part in various sex acts at the behest of the ‘Daddy’.
Birmingham City University graduate Nielen-Groen, of Annan Road, Wolverhampton, denied meeting a child after grooming with the intention of committing a sexual offence but was convicted.
He was jailed for 18 months by Recorder Mr Jonathan Barnes, who also put him on the sex offenders register and made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which restrict future contact with children and enables the police to monitor his use of the internet.
The judge criticised Instagram’s failure to hand over chat logs of the conversations between Nielen-Groen and the girl.
He said:”Sometimes these social media companies put misplaced loyalty to their customers before the administration of justice.”
He said it was clear that the DDLG community was widely used by paedophiles like Nielen-Groen.
He said:”You asserted the community had nothing to do with child sex. It may be there are adult members of the community who do not have paedophile tendencies.
“I am quite sure that many of the members, including you, join it because they have a sexual interest in children. You flattered the girl and wanted her to be your ‘little’.
“You eventually traveled to meet her in Devon and you intended to commit a sexual offence. You knew full well she was a schoolgirl who was under 16.”
During a four day trial Nielen-Groen claimed the girl had never told him her age and he believed her to be an adult who was engaging in age-play and role-play fantasies.
He said he travelled to Devon to meet her but had no intention of taking part in any sexual activity with her. He said he was shocked when she told him her age for the first time in the park in Seaton.
The girl said she joined the DDLG community because she was lonely and wanted to find new friends online.
At first she found it amazing but soon realised there was a sinister side to some of the other users. Her Instagram account remained online for months before it was removed.
She said:”It grew very quickly and I became part of a community. I knew it was kind of wrong and edgy but I wanted to do it. I wanted to be part of it and for people to talk to me.
“I would take pictures of my body and send them for money. They were pictures of a chest and bum. I had about 500 contacts at a time messaging me.”
She said parts of the DDLG site were marked as 18+ but she her account was not and she told him she was 15.
She said:”Some were 18+ but many were under age. I grew to have over 3,000 followers. I did block some men. I did sell some pictures. I did not advertise that but I posted my Paypal on my story once. it was not a recurring theme.
“The majority of men who talked to me did want sexual conversations. I talked to over 20 a day on direct message. There were hundreds in all. I told some I was over age but said I was 15 to the majority.
“Every time I put on my phone I had 20 plus messages. I was having lots of different conversations with lots of different men.”