A Victorian teacher who sent sexually explicit images of himself to a 14-year-old girl has avoided jail and will instead undergo mental health treatment for loneliness.

Locksley Christy, a married father of two, pleaded guilty to grooming a child under 16 after a Melbourne court heard he had repeatedly sent and requested photos from a female student.

Christy, 27, had engaged in conversations with the girl over the social media app Snapchat, telling her she was “gorgeous” and asking her for photographs of her breasts.

“I need some compliments today,” he wrote in one message to the girl, attaching a photo of him pulling his pants down to expose his pubic hair. According to a report in the Herald Sun, his semi-erect penis could be seen in an outline on his pants.

The girl sent him a photo with her top lifted up to expose the bottom of her breasts after Christy’ peppered her with requests.

Christy, whose wife was ill and whose child suffered from autism, claimed he had become lonely during the Covid pandemic when the conversations began.

Communication between the two began in October 2020 when the girl liked a photograph Christy posted on Instagram. It continued until February 2021 when police arrested the Peninsula-based physical education teacher.

The school where both Christy worked and the student attended cannot be named due to legal reasons.

Melbourne Magistrate Donna Bakos told Christy that his offences were “a profound breach of trust”.

“You abused your position as a teacher, and encouraged a young child to act sexually.

“Your offending involved a significant degree of cunning on your part, in that you encouraged the child to keep your communications secret.”

Bakos said the teacher’s actions had an “extraordinary impact” on his victim. But she declined to sentence Christy to jail.

Instead, he given a two-year Community Correction Order, including 200 hours of unpaid community work, and told to undergo mental health treatment.

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