Man’s excuses for grooming teen
A MARRIED Sydney man who groomed a Filipina teenager online for sex says he was feeling neglected by the people around him at the time and his binge-drinking habit removed some of his inhibitions.
Jeremy Paul Lysaght pleaded guilty in May to using a carriage service to groom someone under the age of 16 for three months from Christmas Day in 2015.
He gave evidence at his sentence hearing in the NSW District Court on Tuesday.
The 43-year-old paralegal told the court he "felt neglected for a period of time" and got an "ego boost" from conversations with women on a Filipino dating website which led to his contact with the underage girl.
"It was a little bit flattering. It made me feel good and appreciated," he said. "Some conversations did get sexualised, yes."
Lysaght obtained the teenage girl's phone number on the site and contacted her via the messaging application Viber.
He admitted his 10-year marriage was strained in late-2015 and intimacy with his wife had waned.
"I just felt like I wasn't connecting with my family or the people that I was with," he said.
"I was feeling quite down and I didn't really like myself at the time."
The pair had never separated and his wife knew about his offending, Lysaght said.
He told the court alcohol played a major role in his conduct with the girl, given his "binge-level" drinking of six to nine pints of beer, plus spirits, up to three times a week.
"I think it removed some of my inhibitions and I didn't have as much self- control," he said.
Judge Peter Maiden asked Lysaght why he hadn't sought professional help for his "sexualised fantasies about young girls".
"I don't think I have a problem with that, your honour," Lysaght replied. The judge adjourned the case to March 16.
Lysaght remains on bail and is not allowed to use the internet or approach or speak to underage children.