Prison for man's virtual sex with fake Dutch girl Sweetie

Sweetie (Picture: Twitter/@TinekeSenf)Sweetie (Picture: Twitter/@TinekeSenf)

An Australian man is thought to be the first person convicted as the result of an undercover operation in which charity workers posed as a 10 year old girl on the internet, nicknamed Sweetie.

The registered sex offender, Scott Robert Hansen, pleaded guilty to three charges in the Brisbane District court. He confessed to sending obscene pictures of himself to Sweetie, failing to comply with a sex offenders order and having child pornography on his computer.

Hansen was sentenced to two years in prison. He will be subject to a 12 month correction order and a obligatory sex offender treatment program.

During sentencing Judge Ryrie said that Hansen had "a protracted interest in targeting children in various ways". According to her it is irrelevant that the girl was not real. "If you believe that's a nine year old girl, then that's the law, that's good enough."

The Sweetie operation was created by a Dutch charity called Terre des Hommes. For 10 weeks in 2013 a group of four researchers worked on the project, posing as Philippine girls in chat rooms. Details of a thousand men who contacted Sweetie were sent to police around the world.

Hans Guyt, head of the program, said that they always hoped that the information would eventually be used by the police to mount their own operations. He added the police have to be more proactive. "The only way to try and find these people is to patrol the internet."

Another operator, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that some of the men they interacted with gave him nightmares. Regarding Scott Hansen he said: "He was very direct, at one point he asked us to get our fictional eight-year-old sister involved. It was very difficult to go to sleep after interacting with someone like Hansen." He added that Hansen was "probably not the most serious, not even among the most serious".