The West

Online abuse man posed as teen
Spared jail: Sean Peter McDonnell. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

A man who "trolled" three teenagers in the US with disgusting sexual internet messages has been spared immediate jail after being caught by WA Police's undercover online sex squad.

Sean Peter McDonnell, 26, used a chat site to target three teenage girls in May last year.

He made suggestive and lewd remarks to them while posing as a teenage boy using different email accounts.

The District Court was told that McDonnell was attempting to shock the teens, not groom them, with his sexual language.

But Judge Julie Wager said though it could be accepted McDonnell was not a sexual predator, the community would not stand for such offences and she imposed a suspended jail term of 12 months.

McDonnell used the MeetMe site to pose as a 13 year-old boy and asked his targets increasingly explicit questions - including telling one girl he would rape her.

Prosecutors said McDonnell had used two different personas, to target four victims on two occasions - using language of perversion.

Judge Wager said his responses to the girls were callous and clearly intended to hurt them.

"Your offending was a particular serious example of cyber trolling, with the intention to shock the young person after obtaining their trust," Judge Wager said.

"(The intention) was not to groom or procure - it was to shock and be abusive."

Those online contacts prompted the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the US to supply information to WA police.

Months later, McDonnell used his own profile on Skype to communicate with a 14-year-old girl - who was actually a WA police officer.

That explicit chat went on for an hour - behaviour McDonnell's lawyer Ken Bates said his client was deeply regretful, embarrassed and ashamed about.

McDonnell's jail term was suspended for two years.

The West Australian

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