A FATHER who groomed a teenage girl on Facebook, lied about his age and told her “he was too pretty to go to prison” is now facing jail after being found guilty and changing his pleas during his trial.
Ryan Kirk (25), of St Andrew’s Close, Sunnyside, was on trial for five days at Sheffield Crown court last week charged with one count of grooming and three counts of sexual activity with a child.
He originally denied all charges against him but changed his pleas to the sexual activity charges four days into the trial last Thursday (August 3).
Kirk continued to deny the grooming offence, which took place in January 2015, but a jury found him guilty last Friday.
Prosecutor Ms Helen Chapman said Kirk had told his victim if she spoke to the police and he went to prison then he "could not make it up to her" for lying about his age and that he "could not be there for his son".
Ms Chapman added: "You emotionally blackmailed her and pretty much bribed her."
Speaking after the hearing, Det Con Lee Corker said: “Over six months, Kirk groomed a 15-year-old girl, coercing her into sexual activity with him for his own perverse gains.
“Kirk was 22-years-old at the time of his offending and knew full well the girl was only 15, having befriended her initially on Facebook and stating he was 19.”
Kirk pressurised the girl into having sex and would drive her to secluded locations in his car.
Det Con Corker added: “He completely took advantage of a young girl and exploited her to satisfy his own sick and twisted need for control and power.
“When he became aware the police were involved, he begged her to not say what had really happened, claiming he was too pretty to go prison and telling her what she should say, then checking in with her again after she had spoken to police.
“The courage and bravery this young girl has shown in coming forward is truly commendable.
“Kirk didn’t even have the decency to save her the horrific ordeal of a trial, making her endure the majority of it until he decided to change his plea at the last minute.
“I hope this result gives people further confidence to come forward and report crimes of this nature to police.
“I want to offer my assurance to any victim of a sexual offence, that we will always treat your report sensitively, confidentially and thoroughly investigate any offences against you, and provide support and assistance throughout the legal process, to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their appalling actions.”
Kirk has been remanded in custody until September 18 where he will appear at the same court for sentencing.
If you are a victim of a sexual offence call police on 101 or contact the National Child Exploitation Line, Say Something, on 116000.
In an emergency always call 999.