Sex offender’s Tinder search for love ends with jail sentence
A registered child sex offender previously jailed for masturbating in front of children at a playground has been hit with a suspended prison sentence after he failed to tell authorities he had created online dating accounts.
Richard Brian Campbell, 53, created profiles on dating sites Tinder and Plenty of Fish and on Facebook's Instant Messenger app in April and May of this year.
But as a registered sex offender, he was required to report any social networking accounts to authorities within seven days.
Police alleged Campbell had not notified them of the accounts within the appropriate period and he was subsequently charged with three counts of failing to comply with his reporting obligations pursuant to the Child Protection Act.
Campbell yesterday faced the Brisbane Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to the three charges.
Campbell has an extensive history of sexual offending and in 2018 he was sentenced to 15 months jail, suspended for three years after he served seven months in prison, after he was found guilty of masturbating in front of children at a playground.
The court heard Campbell had been offending for more than 25 years and had previously been sentenced for exposing himself to children and masturbating outside a school.
During the sentence in 2018, a judge described Campbell's behaviour as "the very conduct that we warn our children about" and "behaviour which every parent fears may happen one day".
Defence lawyer Alan Phillips said Campbell had co-operated with authorities and volunteered the information about the social media accounts, albeit outside the required time frame.
He said Campbell, who is on a disability support pension, had worked on a fishing trawler and as a carer and had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
Mr Phillips said Campbell had deleted the accounts and it was simply a case of him not being "diligent enough with his reporting" rather than a malicious act.
Chief Magistrate Terry Gardiner did not accept a submission that a fine was an appropriate sentence.
He sentenced Campbell to concurrent terms of one month of imprisonment for each of the offences to be suspended for 12 months.
Originally published as Sex offender's Tinder search for love ends with jail sentence