On Saturday, December 22, Terry Long of Bristol, England was sentenced to 16 months in jail and forced to add his name to the country’s sex offenders registry after having an illicit conversation with an 11-year-old girl online. Long defended himself in court with a pretty good explanation for his actions: the young girl was posing as a 41-year-old woman during their chat.
The pair chatted for less than an hour, and Long claimed to the Swansea Crown Court that he had no idea he was actually messaging with a minor.
One of the more curious Swansea Crown cases > A man gets chatting to what he believes to be a 41-year-old woman on a dating website but who turns out to 11-year-old girl – a girl who then sends the defendant explicit photos of herself…https://t.co/9y7evKf3wJ
— Jason Evans (@EvansTheCrime) December 22, 2018
The young girl sent explicit photographs of herself performing a sex act over the chat. The photos were clearly not of a woman of the age the young girl claimed to be, but Long continued the conversation for nine minutes after receiving the photos, at which point the 11-year-old’s mother found out about the exchange and shut it down.
The chat began on an adult dating site before moving to the message app WhatsApp. Long definitely saw the photos of the young girl, commenting on them before the girl’s mother stepped in and told him “in no uncertain terms,” to never message again. At one point in the conversation, the girl revealed her actual age, but Long claims to have believed she was joking around (since her listed age on the adult dating website was 41).
After the conversation ended, Long deleted all illicit photos, as well as the minor’s contact information.
Instances of a female minor lying about their age, landing an unwitting suitor in hot water, are extremely rare, but they do occasionally happen. Earlier this month, in Guam, a man named Ryan Pulik was arrested for “3rd degree criminal sexual conduct [and] 4th degree criminal sexual conduct” after having consensual sex with 15-year-old girl he met on Tinder. According to Pulik, the girl claimed to be 19-years-old on social media.
A 29-year-old man was charged in local court for allegedly having sex with a minor who he thought was 19. Read more at: https://t.co/1WQX0C7C1I
— Guam PDN (@GuamPDN) December 24, 2018
why are 15/16-year-old boys on tinder… please stop
— ???????? (@luissadavid) December 2, 2018
I just saw a 15 year old girl on tinder …. uhhhh?¿ THATS so dangerous
— sophie ???? (@jodlewhitaker) November 14, 2018
On December 26, Musician YK Osiris managed to dodge a similar situation on Instagram Live. When the star asked the girl her age, he was shocked when she said she was “just a teenager.” Saying he “thought she was 20,” he quickly cut off the conversation upon finding out she was 16.
YK Osiris not taking any chances ????
— Rap All-Stars ???? (@RapAllStars) December 25, 2018
At least he did the right thing.
— A L A D D I Ñ ???? (@NXNAVARRO) December 26, 2018
The situation is a bit funnier when it doesn’t proceed any further.
Osiris confirmed the girl was 16 then quickly took her off the chat, noting “that’s a case!”
— Youngsaint???? (@roddyboiii) December 25, 2018
According to The Daily Record, Long “pleaded guilty to two counts of causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and two counts of making indecent images of a child when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.” The prosecution acknowledged he did so with the belief that he was chatting with a 41-year-old “at all material times.”
Long also acknowledged his continued back-and-forth with the 11-year-old after she sent the photos, and Judge Paul Thomas QC said to the defendant:
“I am told you are ashamed of yourself – you have every reason to be so.”
The entire court had no other choice but to accept Long’s side of the story since the young girl’s family declined to appear in court and offer any other version of events. The judge, however, seemed skeptical of Long’s story, saying the case had “obvious features that would cause cynicism in all but the most naive.”
Despite the judge’s reservations, having no other point of view to draw upon, the court was invited to sentence based on Long’s recollection of the events. On top of his prison time, he will be made to complete the Horizon community sex offenders program as well as a rehabilitation course.