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Woman jailed over online relationship with Mooroopna boy

By Liz Mellino

A judge has condemned the actions of a Queensland woman who initiated an online sexual relationship with a Mooroopna boy, describing the behaviour as predatory and a relentless and determined attack.

Judge Bill Stuart made the comments while sentencing Kirsty Florence Condon, 27, to 3 years in jail after she pleaded guilty to charges about a virtual relationship of a sexual nature with a boy who was aged between 14 and 15 at the time.

The mother of the boy, who was present for proceedings at the County Court in Shepparton yesterday, sobbed with her head in her hands as Judge Stuart handed down the sentence.

The court previously heard Condon and the boy were involved in a relationship of a highly sexualised nature for about 5 months between December 2016, and May 2017.

Judge Stuart acknowledged Condon had been confronted twice about her actions during the offending period by the boy’s sister and mother, but she continued to contact the boy.

‘‘One would have thought once was enough, one might have thought twice was more than enough, but it didn’t deter you,’’ he said.

‘‘The depravity of your conduct during this period of time is patent.’’

The court previously heard Condon, from Toowoomba, who was 24 at the time, met the boy online while playing video game Grand Theft Auto.

The pair began chatting to each other through an application on XBox messenger and later progressed to other social media messaging platforms and video calls.

Judge Stuart said Condon was well aware of the boy’s age at the time of the offending and subsequently knew of his vulnerability.

He acknowledged Condon had told the boy on multiple occasions she was aware of the seriousness of her actions and knew she could face jail if their relationship was made public.

‘‘You built it up from something innocent which should have remained innocent with a 14-year-old boy, who you during your record of interview described as a kid,’’ Judge Stuart said.

‘‘You built trust only to abuse it — little wonder he fell under your spell.’’

In sentencing, Judge Stuart said he took into account Condon’s guilty pleas at the earliest opportunity and her ‘‘wholly confessional’’ explanation during police interviews.

He said Condon admitted the wrongdoing of her actions and did not try to minimise what she had done.

‘‘The ways of which you conducted yourself during that interview is a willingness to assist the course of justice by assisting the authorities ... you are in my view truly remorseful for what you have done,’’ Judge Stuart said.

He said the sentence imposed must put general deterrence as the principle along with imposing just punishment to denounce Condon for her ‘‘deplorable conduct’’.

He said anyone who engaged in similar conduct with someone underage must expect that they would be imprisoned immediately, with the aim being to protect those most vulnerable in the community.

‘‘You groomed a 14-year-old, later to turn 15, in a relentless and determined attack upon him ... you did so as a sexual predator for your own sexual gratification,’’ Judge Stuart said.

‘‘This involved you instigating him to participate in deplorable and for him degrading acts, this is indeed a grave example of this kind of offending.’’

Condon had pleaded guilty to two charges of using a carriage service to procure a person under 16 years of age, two charges of using a carriage service for sexual activity with a person under 16 years of age and one charge of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a person under 16 years of age.

Condon was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years. She will also be placed on the sex offenders registry for life.