Austin Kitchen, the managing director of the multi-million dollar technology firm Velden Engineering in the United Kingdom, has avoided a prison sentence after being caught sending explicit messages to children.
Kitchen, 36, a married businessman and father of two, posed as a 25-year-old man on Snapchat. On the social media site, he targeted underage girls. According to Metro, Kitchen “bombarded” the girls with sexually explicit messages on a daily basis.
The father of one of the victims found Kitchen’s messages on his daughter’s phone and notified authorities. Police searched Kitchen’s phone and, in addition to the messages, discovered a one hour and 14-minute long pornographic video of an unidentified girl aged between 15 and 17.
The mother of the girl says her daughter has struggled with anxiety and suicidal ideations, and that Kitchen’s predation will have a “lasting effect on her.”
Kitchen, who is the owner of family-run Velden Engineering, confessed to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual communication with a child, and possessing indecent images of children. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison — suspended for two years — after he said he was addressing his “issues.”
Prosecutor Joe Boyd said Kitchen spoke with the first 15-year-old victim about her experiences at school and her problems at home. The girl told Kitchen she was 15, but that didn’t stop him from asking her for suggestive photos.
“Is it wrong that I find the idea of you in a school uniform a turn on?” Kitchen wrote in one of the messages. “If you wanted you could entertain me tonight with some pics and show me you’re worth spoiling.”
Kitchen showered the girl with gifts, including leggings. When she asked Kitchen what he wanted in return, he said he wanted to sleep with her.
At the sentencing, Judge Richard Gioserano told Kitchen there was little he could do to repair the emotional harm done to the girls. “I have reservations about your genuine remorse,” Gioserano said. “In my judgment, you seem to be put in fear of addressing the whole of your distorted sexual thinking.”
Kitchen’s lawyer, Steven Swift, said Kitchen “is someone who finds it very, very difficult to… discuss the substance of the allegations.”