A former Perth teacher and five other men have avoided jail after pleading guilty to separate child sex charges against the same boy who lied about his age.
Four of the men met the complainant, who was 14 and 15 at the time, via the dating apps Grindr and Gaydar and all believed he was older, the West Australian District Court heard on Tuesday.
Ex-teacher Shaun Tate, 44, pleaded guilty to three charges of sexually penetrating a child and was sentenced to an eight-month intensive supervision order.
The offences were not related to the school where Tate was employed before he was charged.
Defence lawyer Neville Barber said the boy admitted lying about his age on the phone apps, which required users to be at least 18 years old and that showed a callous disregard for those who responded to him.
“Who is the more recklessly indifferent here?” Mr Barber submitted.
He said while there was an age disparity, there was no power imbalance and the complainant conducted everything on his own terms.
Prosecutor Zarah Burgess submitted that people often lied online and it was when people met in person that they should make further inquiries, especially if the person appeared young.
Judge Julie Wager accepted Tate’s version of events and noted he was a person of integrity, had showed insight into his offending and was remorseful.
“You’re a person of good conduct and I’m sure you won’t offend again,” she said.
Allan Raymond McCullagh, 68, pleaded guilty to two offences of sexually penetrating a child and was sentenced to eight months prison, suspended for 12 months.
He had a previous record that dated back almost 30 years, the court heard.
Joseph Raymond Fonti, 48, pleaded guilty to 11 charges, including sexual penetration of a child and indecent dealings with a child, and was given a two-year intensive supervision order.
Paul Andrew Collins, 41, pleaded guilty to two sex charges and was given a 12-month intensive supervision order.
Edward James Harry Wilson, 25, pleaded guilty to six charges, including sexual penetration of a child and indecent dealings with a child, and was given a two-year intensive supervision order.
Michael Baine-Davies, 66, pleaded guilty to six charges, including sexual penetration of a child, and was given an 18-month intensive supervision order.