A dad in his forties has been ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register after forming an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.
Carl Sutcliffe, 46, of White Gates, Codnor, previously pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child under 16 and possessing indecent images of children.
He appeared in Derby Crown Court on Friday for sentencing.
Sutcliffe met his victim in a Codnor pub, while she was having drinks with her family.
Sutcliffe then returned to the victim’s home for more drinks after being invited by her family.
Mr David Thatcher, prosecuting, told the court that at around 1am Sutcliffe touched the girl’s breasts over her clothing in the kitchen.
Mr Thatcher said: “She pushed his hand away. He asked her to go to the toilet with him, which she refused, and he then left.”
The court heard that the victim then asked Sutcliffe to be her friend on Facebook the following day, and he accepted he offer.
The pair started to chat over Facebook and began sending inappropriate pictures to one another.
Mr Thatcher said Sutcliffe “squirrelled away” the photos sent by his victim in a hidden vault on his phone.
Four days after the communication between the pair commenced, the victims mother came across a text from the victim to Sutcliffe.
Mr Thatcher said: “[Her mother] sent a text to Sutcliffe saying she knew what was going off and said she would report it to police.”
Passing sentence, Recorder D Smith said he did not believe Sutcliffe was a risk to children, but was instead foolish to accept the victim’s advances.
He said: “You should have said ‘no, you’re 13, I can’t do this, it’s not right’ and that’s where you went wrong.”
He added: “You fooled yourself into thinking a 13-year-old girl found you attractive. Whether she did or not, she was young and you should have known better.”
Judge Smith said: “On the day you groped her breast, you were drunk. That’s not an excuse, but it’s a reason why you would try that behaviour.”
He said he was thankful there was no coercion from Sutcliffe.
Mr Errol Ballentyne, mitigating, said that Sutcliffe was deeply ashamed by his actions and had even considered taking his own life.
He added that Sutcliffe has been offered anti-depressants after being evaluated by doctors, but had refused the medication.
Judge Smith said: “You are a hard working man with a business.
“You are deeply ashamed about what you have done and rightly so.
“These offences, as far as I can see, are towards the lower end of the scale, no matter how disgusting they may seem.”
Sutcliffe was handed a three year community order, a three year supervision order, and ordered to sign he sex offender’s register for five years.
He was also ordered to attend a sex offenders’ rehabilitation programme for 120 days.