A MAN who groomed girls as young as 12 with flirty online chat − and went on to strike up a sexual relationship with a schoolgirl − has been jailed for 11 years.
John Dodd, from Longmore Road in Solihull, was aged 21 in 2007 when he started using a chat-room in music and video file-sharing website Bearshare to lure children into sexually explicit conversations.
He convinced a 13-year-old girl to exchange e-mail addresses and phone numbers before inviting the youngster, from Derby, to stay overnight at the home he shared with his mother and sister.
It sparked a two-year relationship − evolving to become sexual when she turned 14 − that he maintained by tricking family into believing she was over 16.
Chef Dodd was arrested in December 2013 when the girl, now in her early 20s, disclosed the relationship during counselling sessions.
When officers from the West Midlands Police’s Public Protection Unit examined his laptop they discovered a string of social media conversations, with various degrees of sexual incitement, and indecent images of children.
It’s understood Dodd tried grooming tens of girls but, due to MSN Messenger closing in 2013 and not retaining records of user interaction, detectives struggled to identify other victims.
But they managed to trace another schoolgirl who, in response to one of Dodd’s questions, said: “I’m not doing that…I’m 12 for god’s sake.”
In interview the 27-year-old said he knew the girl was 13 from her online profile but claimed the relationship went no further than hugging and ‘passionate kissing’.
However, presented with evidence from his laptop − plus the contents of love letters also found at his address − he admitted having sex with her on at least four occasions.
Dodd admitted 19 offences, including sexual activity with a child, possessing indecent images of children, and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was jailed and given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order that bans him indefinitely from living with girls under-16 and from communicating with under-18s on the internet at Birmingham Crown Court.
Detective Constable Jon Barker, said: “Dodd knew exactly what he was doing grooming young girls into online chats that began playfully but soon developed into explicit sexual questioning.
“We know he tried it on with many young girls and managed to strike up a relationship with one 13-year-old girl.
“The realisation that she had been groomed and used by Dodd was clearly weighing heavily on this girl’s mind and, during one therapy session in 2013, she disclosed the offences to a support agency and they reported it to us.
“I hope the fact that Dodd has now been punished for his offences will help the victim move on with her life.
“I’d urge any other women who believe they were contacted by Dodd, or indeed met with him in person, to contact us so we can build a fuller picture on the extent of his offending and potentially push for further charges.”
Det Con Jon Barker can be contacted in the Sexual Offences team at Coventry police station on 101.