Bundaberg Court House
Bundaberg Court House Mike Knott

Man 'stole innocence' of boy

A 26-YEAR-OLD Bundaberg man has been jailed for five years after admitting to having a sexual relationship with an underage boy 12 years his junior.

Jeremy James Toovey faced Bundaberg District Court and pleaded guilty to four counts of sodomy, six counts of permitting sodomy, seven counts of indecent treatment and one of maintaining a relationship with a child - a charge which carries a maximum of life imprisonment.

Prosecutor Ken Spinaze told the court on Friday the sexual relationship between Toovey, who was aged between 24 and 27 during the time the offences were committed, and the boy, aged 12-15, came to light when the teenager was found do have a sexually transmitted infection.

"The child told police of the sexual interactions and the defendant was able to provide even further detail and co-operated fully," Mr Spinaze said.

The prosecutor said the relationship between the two was consensual, and the teen instigated the sexual interactions on most occasions between July 2007 and April 2010.

"The defendant, being the responsible adult, should have desisted," Mr Spinaze said.

"There was an age difference of some 12 years between the two of them."

Mr Spinaze said during the relationship, the pair would engage in sexual activities, often without protection.

"There was a significant gap from September 2008 to January 2010 ... with no sexual interaction between the two of them," he said.

"Then the child moved in with the defendant and his father and they formed a relationship.

"There was regular offending - a consistent corruption of a child."

Defence barrister Eoin Mac Giolla Ri said his client was full of remorse.

"He admitted he knew it was wrong and he knew that in the early stages," he said.

Judge Marshall Irwin sentenced Toovey to five years in jail, with the sentence to be suspended after 12 months.

"You corrupted the innocence of a 13-year-old child," Judge Irwin said.