Teen avoids jail after sending indecent texts to girls

A Falkirk teenager narrowly avoided jail after being convicted of indecent communication with young girls in Stirling.

Peter Coia (19), of Carmuirs Avenue, was spared prison due to significant personality issues and his turbulent background.

He appeared at Alloa Sheriff Court last Thursday (5 February) to be sentenced on three separate sexual offences against children.

Coia was 17 when the first offence was committed, but continued over a period of eight months.

Between 31 March and 11 April 2013 at a property in Causewayhead, Stirling, he repeatedly sent sexually-explicit messages to a 13-year-old girl.

Then, on various occasions between 30 July and 7 September, he made contact with a 12-year-old girl and did repeatedly send her sexually-explicit messages.

He then continued to send her messages after she turned 13, which due to the wording of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, makes it a separate charge.

A further offence of travelling with the intention of engaging in a sexual activity with the second 13-year-old was accepted by the Crown in an agreement to prevent a trial and the youngsters giving evidence.

Sheriff David Mackie said: “Normally, this matter would warrant a custodial sentence, but that won’t happen today.

“This is due to the fact that certain issues have been highlighted in your background and your personality, both of which have led you to behave in this way.

“With that in mind, it is clear that custody is not the answer. Instead it is better that these issues be addressed more constructively in the community.” Sheriff Mackie then ordered that Coia remain subject to supervision for the next three years and will be compelled to attend a sex offender’s correctional programme.

He is also to have no unsupervised conduct with anyone under the age of 17 and is to attend a psychological assessment.

The sheriff also said his sentence must include some form of punishment, which would take the form of 300 hours of unpaid work to be completed over the next 12 months.

Coia will also be placed on the sex offenders’ register for the next three years.