A man who promised modelling work to young girls he met in internet chatrooms before sexually assaulting them has been jailed for three years.
Charles Monaghan, 38, of Kings Drive, Preston, Lancashire, posed as the head of the fictional T & M Models agency, Burnley Crown Court was told.
He assaulted four girls, aged 13 to 15, in hotel rooms and at his house.
He admitted 11 counts of indecency with a child, twice having unlawful sex and three counts of owning indecent photos.
The father-of-two had molested the girls and gave one victim £17.50 for having sex with him, Mark Lamberty, prosecuting, said.
A 13-year-old was indecently assaulted, leaving her feeling “horrible and disgusted”, he added.
Monaghan’s offences began in the summer of 2003 and ended when he was arrested in January 2004 after one of the girls’ mothers became concerned and contacted social services.
His computer was seized and found to contain 29 indecent images of children.
Monaghan told police he had fallen into a “fantasy world” on the internet after his business hit difficulties and his mother died.
During the six months he had spent in custody he had recognised the “horror” of his actions and was under a “substantial weight of guilt”, Peter Turner, defending, said.
“He’s not merely destroyed the people’s lives to some extent that he’s been involved with, but he’s also severely damaged his family,” he added.
Monaghan was also ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for life, given a 10-year sexual offences prevention order, banned from entering internet chatrooms, and disqualified from working with children for 10 years.
Detective Inspector Neil Hunter, of Lancashire Police, said: “Charles Monaghan is a dangerous man who took advantage of young vulnerable girls after targeting and grooming them on the internet.
“He was extremely proficient and confident in his deceit and once he had gained their trust he subjected them to degrading and serious sexual abuse, he even encouraged the girls to introduce him to their friends, who he also abused.
“I would like to send a strong message out to all users of internet chat rooms, particularly teenage chat rooms, that they must never reveal specific personal details, such as addresses and phone numbers, and must never arrange to meet anyone they engage with on the internet without being certain who they are.
“There is also a responsibility on parents to take an active interest and establish who their children are engaging with on the internet.”
Sentencing Monaghan, Judge Raymond Bennett said: “The law is there to protect young girls under the age of 16 even if they are willing and it’s also there to protect their families from predatory males like you.”