Barnes, of Darlington, admitted 17 specimen charges of making indecent images and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.The 24-year-old was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with supervision and 300 hours of unpaid work for the community.A judge has been criticised for allowing a child sex pervert to walk free from court after accepting that the defendant had been 'seduced' by a 13-year-old.David Barnes, 24, engaged in 'cyber-sex' with a 13-year-old schoolgirl and downloaded hundreds of pornographic pictures and short films - one of which showed the rape of a handcuffed five-year-old girl.Beatriz Mileham, from the University of Gainesville in Florida, who carried out the new study, said: "The Internet will soon become the most common form of infidelity, if it isn't already."With 649 million Internet users worldwide, chat rooms were a fatal attraction for many married people seeking sexual thrills and romantic adventure.In the vast majority of cases, spouses who had Internet encounters with the opposite sex did not think they were doing anything wrong.He was also told by the judge that a sex offender treatment programme he was placed upon was not available to him behind bars.'Many people must be puzzled to say the very least at the leniency of the guideline sentencing,' the judge said. If I sent you to prison it would be for a matter of a few weeks only, hence, as I say, the puzzlement that many people would have about that.
Spokesman Neil Atkinson said: 'Thirteen-year-olds have to be protected. 'Intellectually, ethically and legally, this girl - or anyone of that age - could not possibly have been on the same level as a man in his 20s.
Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said one short film was of a five-year-old girl being raped as she had her legs strapped to a bar and her wrists in handcuffs.
During the chat-room conversations, the teenager was encouraged to do intimate things while Barnes watched on a web-cam.
Judge Fox admitted people would be 'puzzled to say the least' at his decision.
Shop worker Barnes could have been jailed up to six months, but was allowed discount on his punishment because he pleaded guilty to the charges and was of previous good character.
Judge Fox said it was difficult to reconcile the hard-working and highly thought-of young man written of in references with a child sex fiend.