8 Jun 2024

Hamilton Snapchat predator Roland McKop jailed for bribing 13-year-old for sex act

1:29 pm on 8 June 2024

By Belinda Feek, Open Justice reporter of NZ Herald

Snapchat logo.

Photo: Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via AFP

The mother of a teenager who was lured by a man using Snapchat to have sexual activity in the bushes says the girl now carries a burden "she should never have had to bear".

Roland Isaac McKop, 46, went by the username "Classicman" on the social media app and told the 13-year-old he wanted to be her "sugar daddy" and would pay her for monthly sexual liaisons.

On Friday, he appeared before Judge Noel Cocurullo in the Hamilton District Court where he was jailed for two years and six months.

Judge Cocurullo told McKop that even if he got down to the two-year threshold where a sentence of home detention could be considered, he still would not have given him that, due to the pre-meditation, planning, and seriousness of his offending.

The victim's mother told the court the hardest truth to live with was knowing that her daughter would carry the experience with her throughout her entire life.

"A burden she should never have had to bear."

'I want to be your sugar daddy'

McKop added the victim as a friend on Snapchat on 11 January last year and they began chatting.

He told her he added her because her avatar looked cute. Through their messaging, he discovered she was only 13.

McKop did not want to tell her his name or age but eventually claimed to be in his mid-30s and said he wanted to be her "sugar daddy".

He then tried to establish some rules around that; namely, meeting once a month and that he would pay her and occasionally also bring her a gift.

The victim agreed to meet at 3pm the next day at a spot just out of Hamilton.

McKop messaged saying he wanted to "do it" in his car but she declined, stating she did not want to get kidnapped.

They agreed they would meet in the bushes.

McKop began kissing her and got her to lie down.

He asked if he could have sex with her, to which she said "no". He tried anyway.

The victim asked if there was any other way to get money and he told her that they could do "everything else except sex".

After paying her they both left.

In a message to the victim that afternoon, McKop thanked her and said he wanted to do it again, but he quickly discovered she had blocked him.

He then found her on another social media site but she blocked him again.

'He's got a lot to work through'

At his sentencing, Crown solicitor Scarlett Hartstone said while McKop had taken part in a restorative justice conference with the victim and her family, any discount for that should be tempered by his continuous refusal to acknowledge he was sexually attracted to children.

"Any rehabilitation couldn't be meaningfully addressed until he admits that he has a sexual attraction towards children."

She submitted that McKop did not deserve any credit for previous good character due to the serious nature of what he had done.

But his counsel, Richard Barnsdale, disagreed, submitting his client was still coming to grips with his offending.

"I would submit he is only, at this stage, beginning the process of treatment for his problem.

"His comments are a starting point ... he apologises in his own way. It may be if the court expected an abject apology, that will follow after he has been in therapy.

"He's got a lot to work through in that area and he knows that."

Judge Cocurullo told the victim's mother she had shown great courage in reading out her victim impact statement in court.

He told McKop that his offending had a huge effect on the victim and said sending him to jail warned others that similar offending would result in a prison sentence.

McKop was sentenced on seven charges including five of doing an indecent act with a girl under 16, having communication with a girl under 16 with intent to meet her, and entering into a contract with a person under 16 to provide sexual services to him.

In addition to his term of imprisonment, he was ordered to pay $3500 in emotional harm reparation to the victim.

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- This story was first published by the NZ Herald