Despite knowing she was under 16, a Taranaki man invited a teenager back to his house for sex.
Andrew Reginald Fowler previously pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual connection with a young person.
The victim was 15 at the time of the offending and was in state care. She suffers from mental health problems and cognitive issues.
The summary of facts outlined how on July 28, 2016 Fowler, who is 23, saw the victim at the Bell Block library with another teenager, who was also in state care.
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Fowler approached the girl and invited her back to his house. The victim agreed and as they walked to the address, she told Fowler she was 15 years old.
The summary of facts stated how Fowler expressed disbelief and said the teen looked older.
Shortly after arriving at the house, the two went into a bedroom. The victim performed oral sex on Fowler and the two had consensual sex.
Police then arrived at the house, looking for the victim and her friend, who had run away from his caregiver.
As officers came into the house, Fowler came out of his room, wearing only a dressing gown
When the constable told the defendant the girl’s age, Fowler feigned ignorance and told the officer he thought she was 16 years old.
The victim was removed from the address by police and returned to her caregiver.
The following day, the victim was at the Bell Block library and was approached by Fowler again. She accepted his invitation to go back to his house and the two had consensual sex.
About 3pm, police detectives turned up to the address looking for the girl and found her in Fowler’s bedroom.
At the defendant’s sentencing in the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday, lawyer Patrick Mooney said a sentence of community detention and intensive supervision for his client would assist with his rehabilitation.
He said Fowler had mental health issues and help was already in place for him in the community.
Mooney asked Judge Chris Sygrove to step back from placing Fowler on the child sex offender register.
He said Fowler’s previous criminal history was of a minor nature, including a liquor ban breach, and the level of oversight in place for the defendant was enough to prevent further offending.
“It is not necessary for him to be put onto the register,” Mooney said.
Sygrove said due to Fowler’s personal circumstances, he was willing to support a rehabilitative option regarding his sentence.
However, he believed it was appropriate to add the defendant’s name to the child sex offender register.
Fowler was sentenced to 12 months’ intensive supervision and four months’ community detention, which includes a daily curfew to a Bell Block address from 7pm to 7am.