A WIMMERA man, 36, has avoided conviction after he sent sexually explicit messages to teenagers.
The man faced Horsham Magistrates' Court this week. He pleaded guilty to three charges relating to sending explicit messages to three minors via the Facebook messaging application in October 2018.
The man also sent sexually explicit images of himself to the minors.
The court heard the man did not know the teenagers personally and had never spoken to them before. He had previously sent them friend requests on Facebook, which each of the victims accepted after recognising they had friends in common with the man.
One of the victims, a Melbourne teenager aged 16, reported the incident to her teacher.
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She and another victim, aged 17, with whom she was friends, then reported the incidents to police.
A third victim, a Wimmera boy, 17, also reported the incident to police.
Police searched the man's home and located the same boxer briefs in the photographs the man had sent to the victims.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Michelle Wentworth said the man told police during interviews that he was unable to remember sending the messages because he was inebriated at the time.
However, he did confirm to police that the boxers depicted in the photographs matched those police had siezed.
Senior Constable Wentworth also told Magistrate Ross Maxted that due to the "serious nature" of the offending, police wanted to see the man convicted.
She acknowledged the man had demonstrated remorse to police.
Defence lawyer Nick Graham told the court the man was struggling with an alcohol problem, and was unaware of his actions at the time.
Mr Maxted accepted this submission and sentenced the man to an 18-month community corrections order without conviction.
Mr Maxted attached several conditions to the order - including 50 hours of community work, a $500 bond to be paid to the court and treatment for alcohol addiction.
"I understand the community and their children would want to be protected from this sort of imagery," Mr Maxted said.
"If it happens again he will (go to prison)."
Mr Maxted outlined his reasons for sentencing the man without conviction.
"He's an unfortunate person who's had legitimate difficulties in his personal life," he said.
Mr Maxted said of the victims: "I'm not even certain he knew of their ages."
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