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American Mother Held Guilty of Child Sex, but Sentence Suspended

by Gopalan on September 16, 2008 at 11:23 AM
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 American Mother Held Guilty of Child Sex, but Sentence Suspended

An American married mother of three was held guilty of child sex in Australia Tuesday, but her sentence was suspended. But she will be registered as a sex offender. Back home too she could face criminal charges.

Earlier this year the Virginian woman had flown half-way around the world to meet a 15-year-old boy she had got in touch with online.

Barbara Case, 36, sobbed in the Bendigo County Court in the state of Victoria as she was sentenced to 16 months' jail. However the judge went on to suspend the sentence.

Case was told she was being registered as a sex offender for the rest of her life and that she would have to go behind bars if she committed further offences.

Speaking outside the Bendigo county court today, Case said it had been hard to be away from her children.

Her lawyer, Megan Aumair, told the waiting media that Case was "incredibly relieved".

"She wants to put it all behind her now," she said.

Earlier, the court was told that Case may face criminal charges in the US. Case's husband Phillip declined to comment when contacted.

Speaking from his home last month, he said his wife had never been in trouble before, and that she was a "quiet woman".

"I knew she had a friend in Australia.

"I thought they were friends. Someone she could talk to and help her," he said.

The court heard Case met the boy through an online game called Runescape on Christmas Day last year.

"You knew he was 15, and you corresponded regularly," Judge Tim Wood said.

In May, Case flew to Australia to meet the boy.

They spent their first night together in a holiday park cabin in Bendigo.

For the following 11 days, the pair had intercourse on eight occasions and engaged in oral sex three times.

They were caught when the boy's parents became concerned and contacted police.

Judge Wood said Case had been suicidal and suffered from postnatal depression following the birth of her third child in 1999.

He said Case was unlikely to re-offend.

"You understand your conduct was inexcusable and morally wrong," he said.

Source: Medindia

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