A Whanganui teacher's sexual offending has been described by his lawyer as a "tremendous fall from grace".

The man, whose interim name suppression continues, this year admitted meeting a young person after sexual grooming and exposing a young person to indecent material.

He was sentenced to six months' home detention when he appeared in the Whanganui District Court last week.

The man was caught in an undercover police operation this year but the sentence also relates to 2011 offending against a girl who was 15 at the time.


They had met on an online dating site and exchanged messages and photographs.

He later met and sat with the girl in a vehicle where Judge Josephine Bouchier said "there was touching going on but not of a particularly criminal sort".

When the girl turned 16 the man met her again at a hotel and performed oral sex on her.

The second lot of offending happened this year when an undercover police agent set up an online profile of a 13-year-old girl.

The man talked with the fictitious girl for six weeks weeks about masturbation, showed her photos of himself dressed in underwear and suggested meeting.

The "girl" mentioned her age five times through the conversations and when it was mentioned she would be in Palmerston North the man suggested meeting her. This never occurred, however.

Crown lawyer Chris Wilkinson-Smith said the man had a high-risk profile because he was engaged in offending as recently as the middle of this year.

"This is not a case where it's happened in the 1980s or 1990s," he said.

"As recently as June this year he was trying to build relationships for a sexual purpose."

Wilkinson-Smith argued the man's name should be added to the Child Sex Offender Register so he could be monitored post-sentence.

But defence lawyer Roger Crowley said the man had lost everything.

"It's a tremendous fall from grace from a man who has led a blameless life," he said.

"He has lost his self-respect, his marriage, any contact with his children, his career, his social status and his ability to function in the community properly because of this offending.

"It's not an excuse; it's simply where he finds himself."

Crowley argued his client's actions since his arrest demonstrated he was no longer a risk.

"He engaged in counselling on day one; he was said to have real palpable remorse."

Judge Josephine Bouchier sentenced the man to six months' home detention and ordered him not to associate with or contact the victim, anyone under the age of 16 or use any device that could connect to the internet.

She said a pre-sentence report assessed him as being "low risk of further sexual offending".

"I accept that his remorse is genuine and not situational, as in for himself," she said.

Judge Bouchier said it was not appropriate the man be put on the sex offenders register.