A DUMBARTON man has been branded by a sheriff as a “serious risk to the community” after sending a series of messages of a sexual nature to three teenage girls.
Graeme Scott, 34, of Auchenreoch Avenue, pleaded guilty at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday to five charges.
He admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to put people into a state of fear and alarm.
Prosecutor Aga Mathieson told the court that he committed the offence via a messaging service and uttered threats of a sexual nature as well as racial threats.
The offences happened on various occasions between December 31, 2016 and January 3, 2017.
On February 18, 2016, at a property in Glasgow and at a house at a property in Perth Crescent, Clydebank, he contacted a 13-year-old girl via a social media network and uttered threats of a sexual nature and also made racial threats.
He committed similar offences to a young woman on February 17 and February 20, repeatedly contacting the woman, despite being asked not to.
Then, on February 29, 2016, at a property in Alexandria and at Perth Crescent, he contacted a 14-year-old girl via a social media network and made similar sexual and racial threats.
He contacted the same girl via her mobile telephone on March 8, 2016, uttering threats, threats of a sexual nature and racial threats.
He committed the offences while on bail from Dumbarton Sheriff Court, an order imposed on him on July 6, 2016.
Defence lawyer Judith Reid told the court: “He has been in custody since January 9 and pleaded guilty at an early stage.
“He does not offer much of an emotional explanation as to how these offences transpired.
“He used cannabis at the age of 16 and started again four or five years ago.
“He is not a chronic alcoholic but abuses alcohol.
“These offences took place at night when he was not stone cold sober.”
Sheriff William Gallacher told Scott: “Over a prolonged time you uttered threats of a sexual nature to a variety of young women who didn’t want your attention.
“Your comments were insidious, alarming and distressing.
“I have listened very carefully to everything that has been said on your behalf.
“Aside from the fact they were messages and there was no physical contact I consider you pose a serious risk to the community.”
Scott was jailed for two years and will be on licence for a further two years upon his release.
He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for an indefinite period.
The jail sentence was backdated to January 9, when he was first taken into custody.
A spokesman for NSPCC Scotland told the Reporter that just because abuse isn’t face-to-face doesn’t make it any less serious.
He said: “This case highlights some of the dangers children and young people can be exposed to online via social media sites and apps.
“Scott targeted these young girls and bombarded them with a string of abusive messages, despite their pleas for him to stop.
“Just because abuse doesn’t take place face to face doesn’t make it any less serious and it is vital incidents such as these are reported so people like Scott can face the authorities.
“Parents must also talk to their children about what they are doing online and make them aware of the risks they can be exposed to on the online world.
“Our Net Aware and Share Aware services help with online safety and any adult concerned about a child can contact us for free on 0808 800 5000.