Online predator jailed for six years

February 22, 2017 | By More

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

Online sex predator Christopher Lance Keenan has gone to jail for six years after admitting offences involving seven girl victims – the youngest just 13.

Keenan, 26, had accepted a sentencing indication last year, and one of the victims was present at court to see the jail term imposed today by Christchurch District Court Judge Tom Gilbert.

The term will begin in three weeks when Keenan’s current prison sentence on other charges expires. The term will give him time to go through the Kia Marama programme for child sex offenders in prison.

Keenan admitted three charges of sexual conduct with girls under 16, two of carrying out indecent communication with a girl under 16, two of causing harm by posting a digital communication online, and one of obtaining by deception.

Crown prosecutor Nicola Pointer said it had been “insidious” offending.

Defence counsel Jay Lovely said Keenan was described in the pre-sentence report as “realistic and reflective”. He was looking forward to getting a job “once he’s better”. He had previously been second-in-charge at a meat works.

Judge Gilbert said the offending involved engaging in sexual conduct with young girls through Facebook. He had induced two girls aged 13 to meet him at Hansen Park in August 2015, where he gave them cigarettes and had oral sex and unprotected sex. He treated another girl roughly during another sexual encounter.

Keenan somehow managed to video part of the encounter in the park and sent that recording to one of the girls to pressure her into sending naked photographs of herself. The other girl sent photographs on the promise of large amounts of money.

The judge said Keenan used the internet in various forms to contact girls and try to pressure them into providing explicit photos. Where there was resistance, he would make threats. He created a second Facebook profile in another name in order to leverage up the pressure.

Where images had been provided, that fact was used to try to coerce more of them. Keenan would tell the girls that their images had been put on the dark web, or sold to pornographic sites for money.

He noted that Keenan had a difficult past, and now recognised and accepted the need for treatment.

He imposed a series of concurrent sentences totalling six years. Keenan has already received a first-strike warning for repeat sexual offenders, and will now be registered as a sex offender for continued monitoring.

 

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