Natasha Rudra July 04, 2012
A 21-year-old man will spend the next year in weekend jail after he paid two underage girls $1600 to perform sex acts on him at Mount Ainslie.
Morgan Bye, of Macquarie, had previously supervised one of the young girls at a fast-food outlet.
The ACT Supreme Court heard one of the victims had attempted suicide and been hospitalised in the wake of the sexual abuse.
Bye was told that although he may have believed the 14-year-old girls were willing, his crimes were serious.
He pleaded guilty to eight charges, including sexual intercourse with a child under 16, using electronic means to deprave, and committing acts of indecency on a child.
The court heard that Bye began sending sexually inappropriate text messages to one of the girls, then aged 14, during a work Christmas party in December last year.
He told her he would ''pay a lot of money to do stuff'' and asked her what she would do ''for a grand''.
Justice Richard Refshauge said the girl organised to meet Bye and, ''strangely'', her mother drove her to the meeting at a shopping centre at 9pm. Bye paid the girl $700, which she handed to her mother, and took her to Mount Ainslie, where she performed sex acts on him.
Two weeks later he sent the first victim more text messages, including one that said: ''Are you busy for $?'', and she persuaded a friend of hers to join in.
This time Bye paid each girl $450 and gave them food and alcohol in exchange for sex acts on Mount Ainslie.
The second girl told Bye she was not enjoying the experience and he was arrested early this year when she told her mother what had happened.
Justice Refshauge said Bye knew what he was doing was wrong but did not seem to realise his crime was abhorrent and serious.
He said the second victim had twice been admitted to hospital and had suffered depression after the incidents.
But the judge accepted Bye was remorseful, had some insight into the offences and had good prospects for rehabilitation.
He had told his friends and family about the charges, offered to resign from his job, and immediately sought help from a psychologist.
The court heard a psychologist found Bye had underlying emotional issues and deficits which could explain why he sought sexual interaction with very young women.
Justice Refshauge told Bye he had the capacity to rise above the ''terrible thing'' he had done. He said Bye might have believed ''all you were doing was paying for sex and they were girls who appeared to be willing'' but the young man had committed a very serious crime.
He sentenced Bye to a total of 3½ years' jail with one year to be served in periodic detention. The young man's family, including his mother, wept as the sentence was handed down.
The balance of the sentence was suspended from July next year and Bye was also placed on a good-behaviour order.