Inverness Sheriff Court: Convicted paedophile 'has lost everything'
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A Forres man has escaped a jail sentence for trying to lure young girls into sending him indecent photographs of themselves.
Kevin Johnston (48) was snared by a paedophile hunting group which had posed as under-age teenagers on the internet.
Johnston sent them videos of himself carrying out a sex act both while he was in work and at home.
At Inverness Sheriff Court today Johnston was sentence to 225 hours of unpaid work.
Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald also placed him on the sex offender's register and put him under the supervision of social workers for the next three years.
She told him: "I could send you to jail which this merits, but you will not get any help.
"Your intention was clear, you wanted sexual relations with young girls.
"Had they been children, the consequences would have been devastating and lifelong."
The Sheriff criticised Johnston for continuing to minimise and deny his attraction to pre-pubescent girls.
Sheriff Macdonald added: "I have heard you have lost everything, your job and your family. But you only have yourself to blame."
Defence solicitor Grant Daglish told the court that his client has been assessed as being at a low risk of offending again.
The solicitor added that Johnston had now got a new job in Inverness.
Sheriff Macdonald asked Mr Daglish if Johnston had offered any explanation for his behaviour.
Mr Daglish replied: "He is at a loss as to why he did it.
"He advises me that ages did not occur to him.
"Perhaps it was boredom and low mental health."
At a previous hearing, Inverness Sheriff Court was told that the targeted under-age teenagers were actually decoys from the "Hunting Online Predators Everyday", known as 'HOPE.'
The court heard that police raided his former home in Califer Road and seized phones and a computer.
It was then discovered that Johnston had also contacted other targeted.
These might have been real teenagers. However, they could not be traced.
Johnston, who has since moved away from Forres, admitted communicating sexually with children or people he believed to be children between March 25, 2020 and July 4, 2020.
Fiscal depute Robert Weir said that the decoys made it clear on chat and dating websites how old they were pretending to be and did not initiate sexual communications.
Mr Weir said Johnston tried to persuade the girls to send him 'naughty pictures'.
One of his user names was 'hornyhighlander', but he also used 'cantsleepmale.'
In one instance with an unidentified girl, Mr Weir said: "he continued to send sexual messages for three months trying to get a response."