Serial internet sex pest jailed over 800 ‘disturbing’ emails
One of the state's worst internet predators has been returned to jail after he was caught exchanging hundreds of "disturbing messages" and playing out sick fantasies with another registered sex offender.
Michael Richard Hodges, 41, has been in and out of Queensland's courts for more than 15 years for child sex offences but has "continually snubbed his nose" at any opportunities to stay out of jail, the Brisbane District Court was told this morning.
"Since 2005 he has just steadfastly refused to abide by the conditions the courts have imposed," Judge Michael Byrne QC said.
"He's been given every chance on earth but won't take it."
The court heard that Hodges's latest offending came to light in May this year, when Queensland Police went to his Cleveland address to conduct a compliance check and found a mobile phone.
Crown prosecutor Alexandra Baker said officers discovered Hodges had set up an email account and exchanged more than 800 messages over nine days with a registered sex offender in Victoria.
Ms Baker said the extensive email chain detailed a "disturbing sexual scenario between a father and a child".
"It's quite persistent and prolific and only stopped because of police intervention," she said.
It was the latest in a string of offences for Hodges who had "quite an astounding" number of convictions for breaching court orders and for using the internet to procure children for sex.
He had been given an intensive corrections order in July 2019 for messaging the same sex offender who went by the pseudonym Lisa Hogan.
The court was told that in 2016 he was banned from using the internet for five years over similar offences and he had also once approached a 10-year-old girl in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall and touched her bottom.
Hodges faced Brisbane District Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to making child exploitation material, failing to comply with reporting conditions and contravening an intensive correction order.
Defence barrister Gavin Webber said there was little he could say to balance the "stark reality" of Hodges's criminal history.
But Mr Webber stressed that Hodges was "motivated to get out of jail" to care for his father and had spent seven months in custody during a pandemic.
Judge Byrne QC said his criminal history was "horrendous" and there was little left for the court to do than to send him back to jail.
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"The sad reality is that I think you've got to the point where the courts cannot do anything for you in terms of rehabilitation other than creating orders where if you want to do something about it, you can," Judge Byrne said.
Hodges was sentenced to three years' jail and will be eligible for parole after serving 12 months.
He could be released as early as May next year after already serving seven months in pre-sentence custody.*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Serial internet sex pest jailed over 800 'disturbing' emails