Rochester woman to be registered sex offender for life

By Riverine Herald

ROCHESTER’S Andrea Yvonne Emmerson has entered a guilty plea in Bendigo’s County Court after grooming a teenage boy online.

And has been told she will be a registered sex offender for the rest of her life.

However, the boy at the centre of the charges, who was 14 when first contact was made, told the court (through an impact statement) he had now lost one of his best friends.

Emmerson, 29, pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to procure a person under 16 for sexual activity, using a carriage service to transmit indecent communications to a person under 16, using a postal service to send indecent material to a person under 16 and possessing child abuse material.

Emmerson and the victim met through an online game when she was 26 and the victim was 14.

Her cyber affair spanned the nation, the boy living in Western Australia.

Emmerson had travelled there where she had been confronted by the boy’s mother.

The offences are alleged to have been between April 2017 and September 2018, with the Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team charging Emmerson on October 16 after the mother contacted Rochester police.

During her filing hearing, police prosecutor Senior Constable Dave Rennie, acting on behalf of the Office of Public Prosecutions, requested a longer than normal adjournment to give them time to prepare the lengthy and complex brief of evidence.

“Three computers and a mobile phone were seized and material on those devices had to be analysed for e-crime, and that too several months,” Rennie said.

“Police went to Western Australia and spoke to witnesses and the victim . . . and they need to be transcribed.’’

After arrest Emmerson made statements to police about her motivation and how the relationship had progressed.

However, her lawyer Julia Kretzenbacher used a psychology report to demonstrate Emmerson wasn’t a classic paedophile or stalker.

“It wasn't a circumstance where Ms Emmerson went out looking for children online,” Kretzenbacher said.

She added Emmerson’s behaviour never included threats or coercion, made no attempt to hide who she was.

While there were hundreds of digital images and video seized but they had not been circulated with anyone.

Ms Kretzenbacher said, there was no concealment of her identity, and the images of the victim were not shared.

Judge John Smallwood has ordered Emmerson be assessed for a community corrections order and adjourned sentencing.

Irrespective of her sentence, nothing will change her listing on the sex offenders register.