'Exactly the kind of conduct parents fear'

IT'S exactly the kind of conduct parents fear their children will be exposed to.

For 11 months, 26-year-old Richard Morton strategically targeted public places where children were known to frequent and carried out indecent acts, sometimes exposing himself to young girls.

Twice on the same day in March last year, he targeted children at Forest Lake, less than a fortnight later he did the same thing at Collingwood Park, and again on three occasions over two separate days in September.

Then in February this year, he re-emerged at Redbank Plains.

Ipswich District Court yesterday heard Morton chose places where children would be present, including after school times, on walkways and in parks.

In total, nine people were impacted by his "brazen and persistent" conduct, eight were children between seven and 16 years old.

Morton pleaded guilty to seven charges including two each of incident treatment of a child under 16 and under 12 and three counts of committing an incident act in a public place.

A psychologist report tendered to the court revealed information about Morton's past relationships were based on "risk-taking sex" which needed to be addressed by a psychologist.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said he took into account the protection of the community in sentencing.

He said Morton had previously been sentenced to similar charges of wilful exposure in 2015 and for part of the fresh offending before the court, Morton was on bail for the earlier crimes.

"A blunt instance of incarceration by a prison sentence and a failure to win parole (would result in) an untreated sex offender emerging into the community. That would be the worst outcome," Judge Horneman-Wren said.

"It is exactly the kind of conduct parents fear their children will be exposed to."

Morton was sentenced to two and a half years probation and ordered to attend a sexual offenders treatment program. Judge Horneman-Wren declared 307 days pre-sentence custody as time served.



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