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NZ: Monitored sex offender with girl, 13 (Wellington)

Publish Date: 13 Jul 2011
Source: The Dominion Post

SHANE STONEHAM: Was besotted with a schoolgirl he met in a chatroom.

A high-risk sex offender proposed marriage and gave an engagement ring to a 13-year-old girl he met in an internet chatroom while he was supposed to be monitored 24 hours a day.

Shortly afterwards, Shane Frederick Stoneham, 26, took the girl, dressed in her school uniform, to meet his probation officer. They told him they were in a sexual relationship.

Stoneham was under a 10-year court-ordered extended supervision order at the time.

Community Connections Supported Living Trust was contracted by the Corrections Department to watch him for 24 hours a day, unless he was in the shower, toilet or his bed. He was also being electronically monitored.

The Parole Board had repeatedly refused to free him early from jail after he served three years and nine months for unlawful sexual connection with a girl and for assaulting a Parole Board member. After his final release date, the extended supervision order was intended to restrict his ability to meet underage girls.

The probation officer ordered Stoneham not to associate with the girl until he found out her age. She had given Stoneham a false name when they met online, and said she was 16. Stoneham gave his real name and age.

They arranged to meet on September 10, 2010, when Stoneham proposed and gave her an engagement ring. Crown lawyer Tom Gilbert said they met as often as possible and she would stay overnight at his home in Upper Hutt.

After the meeting with his probation officer on September 22, Stoneham and the girl continued to see each other. On November 22, Stoneham was found in bed with her. She said she loved him and planned to marry him.

The girl had been reported missing by her family, who had not seen her for four days.

Stoneham was then arrested, and told the interviewing police officer: "We're in love."

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to four breaches of his extended supervision order and one charge of unlawful sexual connection with a girl.

Judge Anne Gaskell, in Wellington District Court, declined to have him sentenced in the district court and sent him to the High Court for sentencing in two months. He is eligible for preventive detention. Psychological and psychiatric reports were ordered.

Judge Gaskell also gave Stoneham a first-strike warning under the three-strikes law.

In asking her to send Stoneham to the High Court for sentencing, Mr Gilbert said: "He managed to get engaged to and have sex with a girl who was turning 14 while on the most restrictive type of extended supervision order."

Copyright © 2011 Fairfax New Zealand Limited