A Rugby man who tried to persuade an underage girl to take part in sex acts with him has been ordered to undergo a sex offender’s programme.
A jury at Warwick Crown Court had heard that Reece Checkley had had sex with the girl before he knew she was only 14.
But even after her mother found out and left him in no doubt the girl was underage, he sent her texts trying to persuade her to take part in further sexual activity.
Checkley, 21, of Wentworth Road, Rugby, was found not guilty of two charges of sexual activity with a child after the jury accepted he did not know she was only 14 when he had sex with her.
After the jury convicted him of inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity, he was remanded in custody by Judge Peter Carr while a pre-sentence report was prepared on him.
And at Birmingham Crown Court, where Judge Carr is now sitting, Checkley, who had pleaded guilty to an unrelated offence of handling stolen jewellery in December last year, was not jailed.
Instead, after his four-week taste of custody, he was given a community sentence with three years supervision.
Judge Carr also ordered Checkley to take part in a community sex offender’s programme and to register as a sex offender for five years, and prohibited him from contacting various people or going to certain areas.
During his trial prosecutor Jonathan Dunne had told the jury: “Mr Checkley is accused of having underage sex with a girl who was then 14, and thereafter inciting her to engage in sexual acts with him.
“The prosecution’s primary case is that throughout he knew she was under 16. But our secondary case is that, on any view, he had no reasonable grounds for believing she was 16.”
Mr Dunne said that in 2012 the girl’s mother found a mobile phone on which there were inappropriate text messages between Checkley and her daughter.
So she went to see Checkley, and “left him in no doubt that her daughter was only 14”.
Some time later she found another phone which made it evident that the relationship had continued, and reported the matter to the police.
But Checkley continued to send the girl texts inviting her to commit further sexual activity with him – and on one occasion he was found “in a state of undress” at the home of one of the girl’s relatives, with whom she was staying at the time.
When he was arrested, Checkley at first “lied his head off”, it was alleged, and then gave various dates for when he said he found out her age.
Giving evidence, Checkley told the court he did not know the girl’s age when he had had sex with her, and claimed the texts were not intended to get her to perform further sex acts with him.