A Facebook predator with a "fixation" on young girls repeatedly lied to a 14-year-old until he got her on her own, a court has heard.

Steven Espie (28) then molested the victim in his family's empty house while she struggled to get away from him.

He was set to take the matter to jury trial but pleaded guilty to doing an indecent act to a person under-16 at the eleventh hour, sparing the girl the trauma of giving evidence.

Despite that, she told the Dunedin District Court this afternoon she had been crushed by the incident.


"The pain he has caused me in unreal," the victim said, while trembling and crying.

"I thought it would get easier over time but it definitely hasn't. This will haunt me forever."

The girl said she experienced repeated flashbacks of the abuse and required sleeping pills to get any rest.

In November 2016, Espie – a "friend of a friend" - added her on Facebook.

It was no one-off. The court heard how the defendant had more than 2000 friends on the social-media website, many of whom were younger females.

He was "fixated" on having a younger girlfriend, Probation said, and he had broken up with someone in the past because he found out she was older than him.

"A lot of people would call you a sexual predator on social media," Judge Kevin Phillips said.

Espie was staying with family in Milton and the girl came over to visit another teen on December 26, 2016.

While Espie knew the boy had gone camping and would be away for days, he lured the victim inside, telling her he would be back within minutes.

"It was lie upon lie," Judge Phillips said.

"Clear premeditation, planning and deceit . . . to be able to position yourself where you could basically attack her."

Espie groped the girl.

"Skin on skin contact," the judge said.

The victim swore at him and told him to stop but the depraved violation continued until she managed to prise his arm away.

Crown prosecutor Craig Power stressed Espie had little insight into his crimes.

The defendant was assessed as having poor emotional maturity, "distorted thinking", poor decision-making and had issues with entitlement.

"There are very real concerns about possible future offending," he said.

While defence counsel John Westgate highlighted the fact his client had no previous form for sex offending, the judge agreed Espie was a threat to the public.

A report classed him as a high risk of harm to others.

It was crucial, Judge Phillips said, that the defendant complete the Stop Programme – specialised sex-offender rehabilitation.

But if he sent Espie to imprisonment, there would not be enough time for him to complete the counselling behind bars.

The judge therefore sentenced him to eight months' home detention with a condition he undertook the programme.

Espie was also slapped with 200 hours' community work and was ordered to pay the victim $4000.

Despite objections from Mr Westgate, Judge Phillips had "no hesitation" in placing the defendant on the Child Sex Offender Register.

If you're in danger NOW:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault.

Where to go for help or more information:

NZ Police
Help Auckland 24/7 helpline 09 623 1700
Rape Prevention Education
Wellington Help 24/7 crisisline 04 801 6655, push 0
Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz