Man avoids jail after admitting to child grooming offences
A FORMER Rockhampton Grammar and Central Queensland University student has narrowly escaped a stint behind bars over his attempts to groom a young girl over the internet who was an undercover police officer.
Matthew Alan McConville, 29, pleaded guilty on Thursday in the Brisbane District Court to grooming and child pornography offences stemming from interactions that occurred between February and July last year.
McConville currently works for the Department of Education, Training and Employment in Brisbane after moving from his home town of Rockhampton where he previously worked at The Rock Building Society.
Crown Prosecutor Catherine Birkett said McConville used an online pseudonym to groom the girl before asking her to send him explicit pictures and videos of herself performing various lewd acts.
"The 13-year-old girl he thought he was talking to was actually an undercover police officer posing as a girl," she said.
"He used the online name 'Wilson' to gain the girls trust before asking her to do sexually explicit things.
"On nine occasions he asked the girl to perform sex acts on herself and send him the images.
"She refused and then he sent her a video of himself masturbating until he ejaculated.
Ms Birkett said that was when police swooped and he was arrested.
"He was arrested in August last year after police raided his home," she said.
"He was co-operative and made full admissions to investigators.
"Thankfully there was no actual compliant in this matter, but it does not diminish the seriousness of the charges."
Defence barrister Tim Ryan said McConville, whose father and wife were in court offering their support, had suffered severe depression and shame since his arrest.
He said he was being treated for depression which had gone undiagnosed and untreated since his adolescence years.
"He is a first offender, has no criminal history and is extremely remorseful for his actions," he said.
"He understands fully the shame these proceedings have had not only on himself, but his family as well.
"Two medical reports suggest he is not the type of person that would likely act on his fantasies or likely to re-offend."
Judge Michael Noud sentenced McConville to 18 months behind bars but ordered he be released on immediate parole for an operational period of two-years after paying a bond of $500 at the registry.