April 2020

Online sexpredator targeted 14-year-old boys for sex

An online predator who targeted 14-year-old boys for sex has been jailed after he was trapped by a police sting operation.

Robert Johnson arranged to meet a boy called Harry without realising he was in fact dealing with an undercover police officer.

He turned up for a rendez-vous outside a Pizza Hut in Exeter equipped with condoms, lubricant, handcuffs and a spanking paddle after grooming Harry on the gay dating site Grindr.

The web chat on Grindr and Kik made it clear that Harry was 14 but 45-year-old Johnson promised to teach him about sex in lurid messages which discussed bondage and oral sex.

Messages on his phone showed he was also in touch with a real 14-year-old boy, who had sent him an image of his penis.

Johnson, of Guys Road, Exeter, admitted arranging a child sex offence and attempting to meet a child following grooming.

He asked for other offences of sexual communication with a child and possession of an indecent image to be considered.

He was jailed for two years and eight months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.

He was put on the sex offenders’ register for life and banned from future contact with children by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

The judge told him: ”You drove to a meeting equipped to have penetrative sexual activity with a person you thought to be a 14-year-old boy and that can only be met by immediate imprisonment.”

Mr Joss Ticehurst, prosecuting, said contacted Harry on January 14 this year through Grindr and sent a series of sexually explicit messages over the next three days.

The undercover officer who posed as Harry made it clear from the outset he was 14 but Johnson told him he would teach the inexperienced boy about sex.

He sent Harry a picture of himself in his underwear and also sent a photo of a pair of handcuffs. His messages spoke about tying up the boy when they met.

He was arrested in the car park outside the Pizza Hut on Exe Bridges, Exeter, at 9 am on Friday January 17 with condoms, lubricant, handcuffs and a spanking paddle in his Land Rover Discovery.

He was open in his police interview and told officers about online contact with a real 14-year-old boy from Exeter who had sent him an image of himself masturbating.