Man jailed for sexual activity with 12-year-old girl who he thought was 19
A man who spent the night with a 12-year-old girl who he thought was 19 has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Carl Hodgson, 28, invited the child to his flat in Manchester city centre a few days after they first made contact via a popular adult dating app.
He filmed her on his mobile phone as she wore a body stocking and sent it to a friend, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Hodgson also pleasured himself while the girl looked on.
The defendant pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, distributing an indecent photograph of a child and making indecent photographs of a child.
In sentencing, Judge David Stockdale QC, the Recorder of Manchester, told him: “(The victim) was by reason of her age highly vulnerable to exploitation and she was no doubt impressed by you.
“This is most serious offending as you now fully appreciate. The effects on a child of such a young age of offending of this sort are really well too known and well too documented. These effects, in many cases, last for the rest of the child’s life.
“I take into account that while (the victim) was 12 years of age at the time of these offences you did not believe that to be the case. You thought, and on reasonable grounds, that she was over 16.”
The court heard that the victim used a different name on her dating app profile and falsely stated she was 19.
Hodgson made one moving image of the girl and also captured three still images of her on his phone while at his flat.
He also messaged a friend, saying “Mine was decent. Nailed that bird, unreal bod” and also described her as “filth”.
His barrister, Alexander Leach, told the court that those comments were “simply male bravado and bragging” and he had not had sexual intercourse with the girl.
The Crown offered no evidence against a charge of rape and Judge Stockdale ordered a formal not guilty verdict be returned.
No evidence was also offered against single counts of grooming and child abduction.
In mitigation, Mr Leach said: “Effectively Carl Hodgson was not aware he was engaging in any sexual activity with a child. He did not intend to engage in sexual activity with a child and could not have appreciated the particular vulnerability of the child, nor the disparity in age to its criminal extent.
“He must have known she was significantly younger than him but he believed her to be older than 16 years old.
“He is genuinely ashamed and remorseful for the circumstances he finds himself in but does not seek to minimise his behaviour.
“The defendant is regarded by those who know him as honest, trustworthy, industrious, loyal and charitable. Those who know him better say these proceedings have had a profound effect on him. He has lost his employment, his home and has suffered the inevitable stigma brought with offending of this sort.”
Judge Stockdale said he was satisfied that Hodgson’s remorse and regret was genuine and he noted the many testimonials he had received which spoke positively of the defendant’s good character.
He said the girl had been seen by a consultant psychologist and a social worker and was shown to be in a “withdrawn state” and unable or unwilling to communicate.
He added though there were no significant signs she had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, serious anxiety or depression but it was “inevitable she will suffer in the long term as a consequence of the offending”.
Hodgson, of Jordan Street, Manchester, was also banned from contacting the victim and ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for life.
Under the law there is no defence of mistaken reasonable belief in age when a sex offence complainant is under 13.
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Greater Manchester Police / PA Wire.