Jail time increased for online predator
A RAPIST who preyed on teenage girls through social media has had his minimum jail time increased after a judge found the initial sentence "manifestly inadequate".
Jake George Brown, 22, was sentenced in Maroochydore District Court in May last year to nine years in prison for offences including six counts of rape and two counts of sodomy.
Brown was set a parole eligibility date after four years, which was subsequently appealed by the Attorney-General.
Brown pleaded guilty to offences against five girls aged between 14 and 16, three of whom he raped. He knew none of the victims before he made initial contact with them through social media sites.
Prosecutors said his modus operandi was to offer money for sex or for nude or intimate images. Brown then threatened to expose the images to persuade two of the victims to have sex with him.
On May 13, 2013, Brown vaginally raped and sodomised a 14-year-old girl in a degrading and threatening incident in his car.
She had met him for the purpose of having sex, but the court heard consent was gained through Brown's threat of exposing compromising images of her to her friends and school teachers.
Court of Appeal Judge Jackson said the girl had asked Brown a number of times while in the car if they were finished yet.
"The last time she did so, the respondent (Brown) grabbed her by the throat with one hand and choked her saying 'We'll be done when we're done. Are you clear with that'," Judge Jackson said.
The second major offence occurred six days later against a 16-year-old girl. Brown and the girl had exchanged salacious text messages before he turned up at her workplace when she was finishing a shift. He offered her a lift home and stopped near the destination where he tried to persuade her to engage in sexual acts for money.
"Although then she agreed to masturbate him for money, because she felt that he would not let her out of the car 'unless she did something', her consent to have sex was not freely and voluntarily given," Judge Jackson said.
She attempted to refuse his further advances but he grabbed her by the throat with one hand and threatened to slit her throat or stab her unless they had sex. She tried to persuade him to let her out of the car if she did not take his money but he refused. He grabbed her by the throat again.
The incident included multiple offences of rape and an offence of sodomy.
The third major incident occurred on January 11, 2014, when Brown raped a 16-year-old girl at her home. Brown was on bail for the 2013 offences against the 14-year-old girl as well as for texting a 15-year-old girl in 2013 offering her $1300 if she had sex with him.
He had messaged the 16-year-old girl on a social networking site offering to pay her for sex.
"She sent to him a number of nude images and arranged to meet him to have sex for money," Judge Jackson said.
"They had discussed their sexual preferences by messages. She had said she liked to be 'choked' during sex."
They met on January 11 and she got into Brown's car and they drove to her residence. However, after they arrived and the girl requested the money before having sex, Brown refused and threatened to send compromising images she had sent him to members of her family.
"Her consent was not freely and voluntarily given because of the threat," Judge Jackson said.
Brown then raped her.
The fifth victim was 15 when Brown asked her to send naked images to him for money on January 13, last year.
She refused and Brown then threatened that if she did not send images he would spread rumours about her. She sent him an image of herself naked in front of a mirror.
Brown then sent a copy of the image to another person on a social networking site. The recipient alerted the girl's friend.
The Attorney-General submitted to the Court of Appeal that the judge who sentenced Brown last year had erred in failing to make any declaration of a serious violent offence and that parole eligibility after four years was manifestly inadequate.
Judge Jackson noted the judge had taken Brown's autism spectrum disorder into account during sentencing.
Judge Jackson found that the sentencing judge had not considered Brown's autism to be a mitigating feature for the sentence he imposed.
He did not accept the Attorney-General's submission that Brown be convicted of a serious violent offence.
"It is not readily apparent in this case that the more serious offences of rape and sodomy were outside the 'norm' or more serious examples of offence of rape," Judge Jackson said.
"The aggravating factor of violence by choking holds during some of the offences is disturbing. But even taking into account the threats to slit the throat of or stab (the 16-year-old girl), the offences were not more than usually serious examples and did not contain features justifying that (Brown) serve 80% of the sentence before parole eligibility."
Judge Jackson did however find that parole eligibility after four years was too soon. He extended Brown's parole eligibility date to after he has served five years and four months.