A man who persuaded young girls in the US and Australia to perform sexual acts via video chat websites - and then threatened to expose them to friends and family if they did not continue doing it - has escaped a jail sentence.
Daniel John Leask, 22, pleaded guilty to inciting the girls, who were aged between 13 and 15, to perform various sex acts as he watched them on his laptop at his Perth home in 2010 and 2011.
He also admitted blackmailing them with threats of exposure if they stopped.
The first victim, who lived in the US, was just 14 when Leask befriended her online and persuaded her to remove her clothes and masturbate, while he watched on a webcam.
When she eventually objected, Leask threatened to hack into her computer and reveal her behaviour.
When the girl deleted Leask from her social media circle, he tracked her down through an instant messaging service, told her he had recorded their previous exchange and threatened to post the video online.
He then contacted the girl's mother under an alias, and told her her daughter had been recorded performing sexual acts online.
The girl's mother contacted US authorities, who tipped off the Australian Federal Police.
Four more girls suffered similar persuasion and coercion, two in America, one in Victoria and one in NSW, who was the youngest victim at just 13.
She was persuaded to expose herself and then threatened with exposure to her parents if she did not perform more explicit acts, which she eventually did.
She told her brother, who contacted Australian authorities.
In the District Court today, Judge Kevin Sleight said the damage caused to the victims meant they had been humiliated and sexually corrupted by Leask.
He rejected a suggestion Leask had made to police that he was a “white knight” persuading teenagers not to have sex online.
“You used threats to keep all of these girls involved in sexual activity on the screen,” Judge Sleight said.
He revealed that Leask had been driven to his offending after he had suffered a similar experience when he was 17.
Leask was coerced by an unnamed man to perform a sexual act online, with the video published on the internet.
This led to him being bullied and humiliated, causing him to suffer severe depression.
Judge Sleight said he had serious concerns for Leask's welfare if he was sent to prison, given his mental health and immaturity.
Leask was given a three-year good behaviour bond, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and placed under an intense supervision order.He faces a possible three and a half years in jail if he breaches the bond or the order.
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