Musician Nicholas Waite boasted about being in a band to impress a 12-year-old girl before asking her for a naked message on Facebook, a court was told.
Waite, of Mary Towneley Fold, Burnley, was 19 when he started the relationship. The pair met three times, but there was never any sexual activity. She told him she was 14.
“Alarm bells should have been ringing because she was in school uniform,” said prosecutor Mr Martin Hackett. “But their contact continued and the messages became more flirtatious and of a sexual nature.”
Waite (who is now 21) admitted one offence of enticing someone under the age of 13 into sexual activity.
Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt gave Waite a six-month community order with supervision and 80 hours of community work, saying “Work in the community, instead of spending useless hours on your computer.”
She put Waite on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years but did not make a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
Judge Lunt recorded not guilty verdicts on four allegations of grooming and three other charges of sexual activity were left to lie on the file.
She said: “He is not a sexual predator and this is not a grooming case. It is a case where there was the opportunity and nothing actually happened to her whatsoever”.
Mr Hackett said the offence came to light when the girl’s mother looked at her Facebook page. “It seems there had been a falling out or a tiff between the two of them. He said he was in a band to impress her, telling her ‘I didn’t mean to have a go at you before, but I am under a lot of pressure with the band and it’s only going to get worse.
‘I need a massage, a naked one from (another girl’s name) and you’”.
The court heard the pair contacted each other 26 times over six weeks. There were 844 messages, most of which had no sexual overtones or innuendo.
When interviewed by police, Waite said the girl had told him she was doing her GCSEs and was 16. “It was banter,” he said. “Nothing was meant by it.”
Mr Paul Lewis (defending) said Waite had already shown he was community minded, and had raised money for charity with his band. He said the exchanges between him and the girl had been juvenile..
He added Waite was previously of good character and had the support of his family. He stopped drinking as he did not like alcohol and had never taken drugs. He left school with good qualifications and set up his own car valeting business and wanted to have a career in music’
Judge Lunt said Waite deserved credit for his guilty plea as it spared a girl of 12 having to go to court to explain her part in what had happened.