Man jailed for online child sexual exploitation

An online predator who sexually exploited a teenage girl in the US has been jailed for more than four years.

Michael Finlay engaged in web conversations with the 13-year-old girl from Wisconsin and she initially believed that he was a teenager and that she was in a relationship with him.

The 29-year-old coerced the child into sending him indecent images and videos, as well as engaging in discussions about sexual activity, police said.

The case came to light last year when he was caught communicating online with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

In reality, it was an officer from Police Scotland's specialist operation's unit.

Michael Finlay
Michael Finlay

Officers raided his home in Tayport, Fife, in 2018 and found his mobile devices contained child abuse images and evidence of sexualised conversations with underage girls, the force said.

He was sentenced in relations to four charges, two under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, one under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act and one under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act.

Finlay was sentenced to a total of four years and three months when he appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday – 45 months relating to the sexual offences and a further six months for a breach of bail.

Detective Constable Ross French, of Fife's public protection unit, said afterwards: "Michael Finlay is the definition of a predator and he willingly and knowingly targeted young girls to exploit them for his own gratification. When the girls he abused tried to resist, Finlay used threats and intimidation to coerce them further.

"Police Scotland officers engaged with Finlay online, and were able to gather evidence that demonstrated the level of online exploitation Finlay used. This ultimately led to his conviction and sentencing.

"Through liaison with our law enforcement counterparts in the USA, the teenage girl targeted by Finlay was identified and is being supported by the relevant authorities.

"We remain committed to bringing perpetrators of online child sexual abuse to justice and will utilise all resources at our disposal to removing these individuals from our communities."