Last week Auckland man Andy Samoa was jailed for targeting, manipulating and sexually grooming and abusing three young teenagers.

He found them online, preyed on them, persisted with explicit messages and offered to pay cash, drugs and cigarettes for sex.

The 38-year-old was only caught when two of the young victims told their parents about his abuse - described in court as "disgusting".

This is their story. It contains graphic descriptions relation to sexual abuse, and may be confronting or upsetting.

Please take care.

She was only 13 years old when Andy Samoa found her online.

She was already living life on the troubled side and was particularly vulnerable when he set his sights on her.

But what he did was a catalyst for her downward spiral.

She was a child - Samoa knew that, and he went for her anyway.

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The girl was one of three youngsters Samoa, 38, offended against over a 15-month period.

His relationship had broken up, soon after he told his partner he'd been unfaithful to her multiple times.

He was "lonely" and had a high sex drive that he needed to satisfy, so he turned to social media to meet women.

At first Samoa was meeting adults for sex but he came across the girl, referred to as Victim A in court, and started to message her.

She told Samoa she was 13, and that didn't put him off.

One day in October 2015 he sent her a series of messages about meeting him.

He was clear with the girl: he wanted to meet her as soon as possible, and have sex.

The messages became sexually explicit. He sent photos of his penis.

The girl resisted, but Samoa persevered, sending her multiple messages at a time and offering to buy her cannabis.

Again, she resisted.

Portait of a child sex offender. Andy Samoa in the dock at the North Shore District Court. New Zealand Herald photograph by Doug Sherring
Portait of a child sex offender. Andy Samoa in the dock at the North Shore District Court. New Zealand Herald photograph by Doug Sherring

At his sentencing last week the court heard that Samoa got his hooks into the girl at "a very difficult time in her life when she was particularly vulnerable".

After he groomed her and exposed her to images and suggestions no 13-year-old girl should know about, she began to travel down an even darker path.

"Around the time she met you, she went down a spiral," Judge Claire Ryan told Samoa, referring to a victim impact statement the girl's mother wrote for the court.

"She had behavioural problems, she stopped going to school."

She was a frequent runaway.

She lived on the street.

Her mother made the call to take the girl out of Auckland, for a fresh start away from Samoa and her demons.

Things got worse.

"She began to work as a prostitute," Judge Ryan said.

She was then put into the care of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children.

Eventually the girl slowly, very slowly, began to recover from what Samoa had done.

"This time of her life had a significant impact on her," Judge Ryan said.

"Her mother believes she will feel the effects for the rest of her life. She engaged in such risky behaviour - much of which could have led to her death.

Her self esteem plummeted - her education was affected - and she "carries mental and physical scars daily".

"When Victim A met you, she was really vulnerable and you took advantage of that," her mother told the court.

"Children should be safe, adults should help them - not take advantage of them."

Andy Samoa appearing in court last week. Photo / Doug Sherring
Andy Samoa appearing in court last week. Photo / Doug Sherring

Victim B: A bullied boy looking for a friend

When he didn't get his way with Victim A, Samoa turned to other young people to get the sex he was craving.

Over 15 months he groomed and persisted with three young people in total - but the courts heard that his offending was not constant over that time period.

Samoa had always considered himself straight, but when he met Victim B and Victim C - both teenaged boys - he was more than willing to try his luck sexually with them.

Victim B was 13 when he chanced upon Samoa online.

Samoa said he was 19, and that his name was Alex.

They exchanged messages through social media applications Viber and Whisper, sent texts and spoke on the phone.

Victim B had also been having a tough time.

He'd been bullied and was desperate for a mate, someone he could talk to, who understood him.

He never imagined he would fall into the clutches of a sex offender.

Samoa's messages became increasingly explicit - he'd describe sexual acts he wanted to perform on Victim B, and told the boy what he wanted done to him.

He sent a video to the teenager of himself masturbating, asking "you want this in your mouth?".

Until then, Victim B had been considering meeting "Alex", but the obscene video made him uncomfortable and he went to his mother and told her everything.

She read a statement in court last week, speaking clearly and firmly at Samoa, who stood in the dock staring at the floor for much of his sentencing.

She said her son felt "extremely guilty" about his contact with Samoa, especially for disclosing the address of his family home.

Even when he started to feel uncomfortable, her son continued to message the predator because he lived in fear that Samoa would come after him, murder him, hurt his family if he cut off contact.

His mother said the teenager was "immature for his age".

"You exposed him to things he should never have seen or heard," she said.

"I feel he has lost his innocence.

"He didn't have many friends. He thought he had a friend [in you], instead you preyed upon him."

Samoa had turned the boy's life upside down.

He is now introverted, much less trusting and hardly ever leaves his home.

"I can't believe someone would do that to my child - or any child," the mother said.

She was thankful her son resisted meeting Samoa, especially after hearing what happened to the third victim.

She was "totally disgusted" by the 38-year-old and said he should not be allowed around children or young people in future.

"You are a danger to society," she said.

Victim C: Groomed, taken, abused

Samoa's first two victims resisted his persuasive attempts to meet up, but Victim C did not.

His, according to the court, was the most serious case and the charges that gained Samoa the most jail time.

Victim C was also 13 when he met Samoa online.

They too communicated through apps and text messages.

In February last year Samoa started to send explicit messages to the boy.

He asked him to take a photograph of his own genitals and send it to his phone.

The boy agreed to meet Samoa and on February 12 the man the court described as a sexual deviant made a plan.

Andy Samoa used social media apps and text messaging to contact and groom his victims. New Zealand Herald file photograph
Andy Samoa used social media apps and text messaging to contact and groom his victims. New Zealand Herald file photograph

He would drive to a vacant property near the boy's family home, the boy would sneak out and meet Samoa and they would drive somewhere for sex.

At 9.30pm the boy crept out his bedroom window and walked to the meeting point.

He got in the car and Samoa drove him to a secluded area in Hillsborough.

There, they had sexual contact.

This happened over and over again in the next few weeks, and the sexual contact became more brazen each time.

Samoa performed sexual acts on the boy, and had him perform acts in return.

Then, he would drive him home.

Eventually the boy disclosed the abuse to his family and they went to the police.

The victim's mother told the court that she thought Samoa was "an oxygen thief".

"You led him into dangerous and risky behaviour. He's done things he would otherwise not have done.

"No child should have to deal with this type of situation."

She said her son's trust in people was severely damaged and he was going through a slow and painful process to rebuild his life.

Her family were also struggling, having been "dragged into a scene they knew nothing about".

There had been many sleepless nights caused by worry and the thought of Samoa manipulating her son to sneak out of his bedroom window at night to meet and be abused was "frightening".

Nabbed: How police caught deviant Andy Samoa

Detective Inspector John Sutton said police took the complaints from the boys separately, but soon clicked that the offender was the same in both cases.

They had no idea who he was, so embarked on a covert operation to catch the predator.

The court heard that police obtained a phone number for Samoa from the boys.

They posed as a teenage girl and set about messaging him, using a police cellphone to send him texts and arrange a meeting.

Samoa thought he was communicating with Victim A again, and was quick to respond.

He offered to give her a bag of cannabis, a packet of cigarettes and $100 cash if she met him for sex.

The police, pretending to be the girl, agreed and a meeting was set up at a domain on the North Shore on March 28 this year.

The court heard that Samoa drove from his home to the domain and sent a text message to say that he had arrived, describing the car he was in.

At 10.10am that day police stopped the car in the domain.

In the car was an unopened packet of cigarettes, $100 cash and the phone Samoa had been using to communicate with police.

He was arrested on the spot.

The game was up.

Police arrested Andy Samoa after posing as a teenage girl and arranging to meet him for sex. New Zealand Herald file photograph
Police arrested Andy Samoa after posing as a teenage girl and arranging to meet him for sex. New Zealand Herald file photograph

Guilty: Samoa says high sex drive led to abuse

Samoa never spoke to police, exercising his right as a defendant to silence.

But he opened up during an interview with a probation officer for a pre-sentence report.

Samoa, supported in court by an uncle who travelled from Australia for sentencing, has only one previous conviction for drink driving a few years ago.

The child sex offending was "a significant escalation".

Judge Ryan said it appeared Samoa had tried hard to "minimalise" his offending, to excuse and justify it.

He was over-friendly with the pre-sentence report writer and quick to detail the personal problems that led to him offending.

He said he had financial stress because he owned a leaky apartment.

He'd told his partner he'd been cheating on her, and she left him.

He became lonely and had a high sex drive so wanted to meet people to help him with that.

He said he never intended to offend, but the court reminded him repeatedly that he knew exactly how old each of his victims were when he abused or groomed them.

Samoa admitted during his interview that he "considered the possible consequence" but went ahead anyway.

Judge Ryan said Samoa feigned remorse, but that was more likely because he'd been caught.

"Your remorse, in my view, is extremely limited - largely for the predicament you are in," she said.

"You seem to lack insight into the severity of your offending, trying to excuse it."

She said Samoa had put forward an address to the court, hoping for home detention - but the occupants refused to have him there because they had children visiting regularly.

Prison was the only option.

And she considered Samoa - because of his attitude towards his offending - was too high a risk for any other form of punitive action.

"You claim you are a good person [but] your offending was premeditated and involved the grooming of young victims.

"You were surprised at yourself for engaging in sex with young males, you believed yourself to be heterosexual - you were aware of your victims' ages but you said you were lonely and had a high sex drive, that's why you groomed them."

Judge Ryan said Samoa's actions indicated he had "developed a deviant sexual interest" in young people.

"There was a high degree of premeditation, planning and grooming," she said.

"The offending was predatory with clear sexual intent.

"You lied about your age, said you were 19 or 20 - you are not, you are 38.

"This offending is significant."

Judge Ryan sentenced Samoa to four years and three months in prison.

She also gave him a warning under the three strikes law.

He must serve 50 per cent of his sentence before he can seek parole.

Help your kids stay safe online

Some things you can do to help your children stay safe online include:

• install software on your computer that either blocks restricted content so your children cannot access certain sites, or monitors activity so that you can review online behaviour

• know who your children are contacting online. If they are not your children's actual friends then question their cyber friendship

• know which social networking sites your child is on and what information they are posting

• check that your children understand the dangers of posting personal information on social networking sites

• do not allow your children to use the computer in private areas of your home

• if you or your child becomes suspicious about a person online, stop contact immediately.

If you are concerned about a young person or someone's online behaviour - contact your local police station to speak to an officer.
If you or someone you know is in danger - call 111 immediately.

For more information and safety tips visit:

Police http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/email-and-internet-safety/online-child-safety

Netsafe https://www.netsafe.org.nz/online-safety-for-parents/