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17 December 2011, 09:27
Detectives have told Capital that's it's only down to brave children that a teenager from Derby was caught persuading girls to send him explicit photos and footage online.
19-year-old Paul Rope from Sinfin has been given an indefinite hospital order after the court was told he had severe learning difficulties.
Officers think Rope contacted more than 900 girls.
He contacted girls on social networking websites and asked them to send him pictures of themselves in sexual poses in return for money.
But instead of paying them he threatened to put the pictures on to a public website if the girls did not send more photos and perform sex acts in front of a webcam for him.
Rope pleaded guilty to causing and inciting five different girls to engage in sexual activity between January and July 2009. He also pleaded guilty to five counts of downloading indecent images and movies from a file-sharing website.
Rope will be detained in a low-security hospital, where he will receive treatment. He will not be released until he is no longer considered to be a risk to the public.
When Rope is released he must abide by a sexual offences prevention order, which includes not being alone with any girl under the age of 16.
He was also banned from working with children.
Detective Constable Annie Vernon said:
"Some of his victims have been massively traumatised.
"It has been a long and complex investigation that has only been possible as a result of brave children that have come forward and told their stories. Without them, Rope may still be committing these offences."
Detective Sergeant Doug Naden added:
"This highlights the potential risks on social networking sites and I would urge parents to better educate themselves and monitor their children's activity online. Children should feel confident that they can come forward and tell families or the police if they have concerns about online contact."