RAIL worker Benjamin Tite has been jailed for having sex with a 14-year-old girl he befriended on Facebook.
The 26-year-old, of Falfield Road, Tuffley, admitted three charges of sexual activity with the underage girl between March and May last year.
Sentencing him at Gloucester Crown Court, Judge William Hart said he would rather send Tite on a sex offender course than jail him but he had no choice because of sentencing guidelines.
Prosecutor Julian Kesner said Tite met the girl briefly when he was giving a lift to an older friend of hers. He hardly spoke to her but the next day he contacted her on Facebook and asked to be her friend. She agreed.
"They started to communicate through Facebook and then they started to text each other," said Mr Kesner.
"She says that in the texts she told him she was 15 but when they actually met she said she was actually 14."
Mr Kesner said texts from the girl to Tite showed she was "clearly infatuated" with him.
Describing the girl as "vulnerable", Mr Kesner said the offences came to light dramatically in May last year when the girl locked her mum out of the house. The mother arrived home from work and the girl would not let her in.
Police were called and broke in. She was in her bedroom where she told a woman officer she had been sexually assaulted by Tite.
David Billingham, defending, said: "He describes himself as being weak minded and stupid. He regarded this as a long-standing relationship."
Mr Billingham said Tite was of previous good character and had a job with Network Rail.
"Grown men need to realise if they have sex with 14 or 15-year-old girls they will go to prison," the judge said.