Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]
November 23, 2022
By Monte Bovill
A staff member at a Tasmanian Catholic school has been described as “persistent and predatory” in the sexual exploitation of multiple students and young girls, and will now spend at least 18 months in prison.
- The court heard Hones created multiple social media and email accounts with fake names to communicate with the girls
- Justice Jago said “immediate imprisonment” was warranted, sentencing him to three years and nine months behind bars.
- She suspended nine months of the sentence, with Hones eligible for parole in 18 months
Somerset man Adam Michael Hones, 32, worked as an information technology technician at Burnie’s Marist Regional College for almost a decade before being stood down following a police investigation in 2021.
In October he pleaded guilty to 19 charges involving 17 different young girls, 11 of which were students at Marist. They were aged between 14 and 17.
In handing down her sentence in the Supreme Court in Burnie, Justice Tamara Jago said the offending was “very serious”.
“Your conduct was deliberate, persistent and, at times, bordered on being coercive,” she said.
The court heard Hones created multiple social media and email accounts with fake names to communicate with the girls, requesting naked photos and videos from them in exchange for money, in offending that occurred in 2020 and 2021.
“You treated the complainants as comedies for your entertainment,” Justice Jago said.
“There is no question in my mind that your behaviour has enormous potential for harm.”
While many declined, multiple girls sent him explicit photos of themselves, and Hones used a device to record and save some conversations without the complainant knowing.
His defence lawyer, Stephen Wright, had previously told the court the offending had no correlation to his employment, a fact that Justice Jago rejected.
“You must have appreciated who the complainants were and that they were students at the school,” she said.
“It was a breach of trust in respect to your employer and also the students.”
Justice Jago also rejected the idea that Hones did not know the ages of the girls because they either told him or it was stated on their social media accounts.
“Your behaviour went far beyond pursuing friendships … it was persistent, predatory behaviour,” she said.
Justice Jago said “immediate imprisonment” was warranted, sentencing him to three years and nine months behind bars.
She suspended nine months of the sentence, with Hones eligible for parole in 18 months.
His name will be placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years following his release.