A university student turned “predator” who used popular internet chat sites to befriend potential victims has pleaded guilty to ‘‘sickening’’ offences, including the rape of two teenage girls.
A Melbourne court heard Taylan Reeves created false internet chat site identities of boys and one girl to communicate in sessions or on webcams with adults and people aged between 11 and 18.
The County Court heard on Thursday that Reeves, then aged 18 and 19, used the sites MeetMe苏州美甲美睫培训学校, KIK messenger, Skype, Viber, iMessage and Facebook and sometimes portrayed himself as a model/acting agent.
Luisa Dipietrantonio said in her prosecution opening that Reeves, over a 15-month period from May, 2012, engaged with people in Victoria, interstate and overseas, including Europe and America.
Ms Dipietrantinio said as a result of some of the communications, Reeves was able to contact teenagers via phone and sometimes tried to or did arrange meetings.
“The online communications progressed to sexually explicit conversations with (Reeves) requesting specific naked images of the teenagers, including images which would be classified as child pornography — and feet,” she said.
Judge Felicity Hampel heard that Reeves also searched websites for young models and actors seeking work and had contacted some to ask if they would participate in “naked photo shoots next to his vehicle”. He also accessed and downloaded child pornography.
Reeves, now 20, formerly of Essendon, pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges that also included procuring sexual penetration by threat or fraud and using a carriage service to procure a person under 16 for sexual activity.
The court heard a girl, 14, that Reeves digitally raped, and a girl, 15, he committed penile, digital and oral rape against, were each threatened by him to participate or he would distribute explicit photos he had of them to people that included their parents.
Ms Dipietrantonio said conversations Reeve had with a third girl he targeted turned sexually explicit before she felt “pressured” to send naked images of herself.
After they later met at a football oval and sexual activity occurred, Reeves threatened to post naked photos of her on Facebook unless she had sex with him but she reported him to police.
A fourth girl, aged 11, who advertised for acting work online, was called by Reeves on the phone number she had posted.
Reeves told the girl he intended to hire her in an acting role and then persuaded her to pose in and the without her bathers, but when his demands turned offensive and she became ‘‘worried, scared and angry’’ she told her parents.
He was initially arrested and released, but later police analysis of his computers uncovered further offending and he was returned to custody.
Ms Dipietrantonio said more than 2000 child pornography and 220 movies were found.
Defence barrister Julie Sutherland said Reeves, supported in court by his “shattered and grief-stricken” parents, had been studying a psychology/law double degree at La Trobe university with a now-lost dream to become a lawyer.
Ms Sutherland said his parents, “loving and nurturing” people, would continue to support him while written character references “bespoke of a young man otherwise of excellent and outstanding character”.
She submitted the rape offences, while the most serious, were “nowhere near the worst category” to which Judge Hample responded that they had involved psychological threats.
Ms Sutherland said Reeves had initially “standardised” the victims, in that he did not see them as “real victims”, but was now “disgusted and sickened” by his behaviour.
He told her that to say sorry now to them would be an insult “but I want them to know I am”.
Psychologist Patrick Newton gave evidence that testing of Reeves revealed that as a child he was uncertain of his sexuality and “gender preference” and from later feelings of inadequacies he had engaged in “disinhibiting escalation” through deviant Internet material.
Reeves also used Skype to communicate with adult females in America, the UK, Russia, the Ukraine and Colombia in which he asked them to have their young children engage in sexual activity or pose naked.
Ms Sutherland conceded that the offending was abbohrent, appalling, sickening and predatory.
She also acknowledged that all child pornography was wrong, but she told Judge Hampel that about 85% of the images were in the less “egregious” category while about half of the movies were similarly regarded.
Mr Newton said that Reeves was presently assessed a “high risk” of reoffending, but with effective treatment this could be reduced to a moderate to high risk.
While Ms Dipietrantonio opposed it, Judge Hampel acceded to a defence application to adjourn the hearing for three months to assess Reeves after continued treatment with a colleague of Mr Newton’s.
Judge Hampel said her decision was based on the ultimate protection of the community and in the interests of justice as prisoners cannot access the sexual offenders’ treatment program until towards the end of their sentence.
Given that Reeves was a young offender, and conscious the victims would have to await a final outcome, she adjourned sentencing until November to consider a report on his progress.
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