Convicted child sex offender busted growing marijuana

A young man who was convicted of having sex with a child after a Snapchat truth or dare game led to meeting the underage girl on a sports field for a threesome has since been convicted for failing to report many times as a child sex offender and growing marijuana.

Sterling Kenneth Ritter, 27, pleaded guilty on March 16 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count each of producing a dangerous drug, possessing items used to produce a dangerous drug, possessing a bong and four counts of failing to report as per obligations outlined under the Child Protection Act for a child sex offender.

Ritter was sentenced in Rockhampton District Court on February 15, 2017, to one count of carnal knowledge of a child under 16.

His co-offender had been talking to the girl via Snapchat originally. Ritter entered into a Snapchat truth or dare game involving sexual acts with the co-offender, the victim and her friend prior to agreeing to threesome at sports field.

Read more here: Shock Snapchat sex game ends in under-age intercourse

Police prosecutor Clancy Fox told the court on March 16 checks on November 15, 2020, revealed Ritter had failed to report a number of things he was required to report under state legislation for child sex offenders.

Ritter failed to report he no longer owned a particular motor vehicle, he had a new internet service provider, a new Optus phone number and changes to his personal information between January 1, 2018 to August 26, 2020.

At the same time the reporting offences were revealed, police located a tent inside Ritter's Gracemere residence where he was growing marijuana in one pot plant.

Mr Fox said Ritter told police he found the seed, planted it, cultivated it and cared for it.

Police also found plant food, an extension cord, a heat lamp and power board as part of the growing set up.

Mr Fox said Ritter told police he no longer had the vehicle as it had been written off which led to one of the fail to report charges.

He said Ritter also claimed the new internet service provider and mobile phone were his partner's which he shared.

Mr Fox said the last fail to report charge was laid because Ritter failed to tell authorities he no longer worked for a fast food outlet as of January 2019.

Defence lawyer Lachlan Robertson said Ritter was engaged to his partner of five years, worked in hospitality and agriculture in the past and had no prior convictions for drugs.

Ritter was placed on an 18-month probation order and convictions were recorded.

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