Man thought he was meeting a 14-year-old, instead it was police

By Alexandra Patrikios

The man thought he had met a 14-year-old on a dating site, unaware he was involved in an intricate police sting. Photo / iStock
The man thought he had met a 14-year-old on a dating site, unaware he was involved in an intricate police sting. Photo / iStock

A man who travelled from Victoria to Queensland to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl he had contacted online, unaware it was a police sting, will spend six months behind bars.

Shane Douglas Grapsas, 49, fronted the Brisbane District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to multiple charges, including using a carriage service to groom persons under 16 years of age.

The court heard the Victorian man travelled to Brisbane in December 2014 after corresponding with a girl he met via the online dating website RSVP.

Prosecutor Aimee Sanderson said the girl's profile initially listed her as 18 but once contact was made by Douglas, she was presented as a 14-year-old school student lying about her age to pass the website's restrictions.

Their communications persisted for more than three months and continued to the point where Douglas sent pictures of his genitals, masturbated on webcam and made sexual comments to the fictitious girl, the court heard.

When making plans to come to Brisbane, Ms Sanderson said he asked the girl to "promise, promise, promise" not to tell anyone about their relationship because he would kill himself if he went to jail.

But defence barrister John McInnes said his client was contrite in lieu of his run-in with police and had committed the offences at a time when he was in a rut and behaving "very stupidly".

He said the Geelong-born man had been a good student and previously served as a committee member and coach at a local football club.

"Sadly, that's been interrupted by the consequences of this offending," Judge Brendan Butler remarked during sentencing.

He accepted the father was genuinely remorseful and had not shown signs of having a fascination with underage girls.

However, the judge noted the way he communicated with the fictitious teenager was "wholly reprehensible" in its sexual nature.

He sentenced Douglas to prison terms ranging from six months to 18 months for a total of 23 counts, to be served concurrently, but ordered him to be released on a two-year good behaviour bond after serving six months.

AAP anp/jsm/cwb/pmu

-AAP

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