Man's trial starts over misuse of PC


NASHUA – A jury began hearing testimony Tuesday on whether a 21-year-old man used his computer to entice a 13-year-old girl into meeting for sex. But the twist in this case is that the man initially communicated with the girl but later unwittingly continued the conversation with her older friend, who convinced the man to drive to Nashua for a meeting that never happened. Andrew Farrington, of Londonderry, faces a felony count of prohibited use of computer services. Prosecutors allege that when Farrington drove to a Nashua neighborhood on a stormy night in December 2007, he intended to have sex with the young girl. "The case today is about a guy who wanted to have sex," Hillsborough County Assistant Attorney David Tencza. "He didn't care about a snowstorm. . . . He didn't care if the girl was 13 or 14 years old." The girl was 13 and Farrington was 21 when they started communicating via Facebook and AOL Instant Messenger. But she told Farrington she was 14 when they started exchanging messages, according to testimony and transcripts read at the trial. The exchanges started innocently, the girl said in testimony. But then Farrington made the girl feel uncomfortable when he sent a message about a sexual dream he claimed to have had about her, she said. From then on, the girl had an older male friend pretend to be her on AOL IM and through cell phone texts, she testified. That friend ultimately convinced Farrington to drive to a Nashua neighborhood, where a meeting never occurred but the older friend took down Farrington's license plate number and called police, prosecutors said. "This is just a case of a guy who wanted to have sex and was willing to go to lengths to have sex with a 14-year-old girl," Tencza said. But Farrington's attorney, Shawn Sweeney, rebutted that argument. The prosecution will "say Andrew (Farrington) approached," Sweeney said. "It makes it sound like Andrew is looking for some unsuspecting victim. But that's not at all what happened." Sweeney made a brief opening statement, saying he wouldn't comment much further but would instead wait for the county to make its case. "Rather than speculate, we'll watch it unfold, and then I'll come back to it," he said. "Every detail is important."But in his opening argument and in cross-examination of the girl, Sweeney focused on how the girl floated a picture of herself on the Internet through a Facebook application called "Are You Interested?" That's how Farrington came to know the girl, Sweeney said. After checking "yes" for interested, Farrington messaged her on Facebook, and she replied by accepting him as a friend, according to testimony. Her Facebook page provided her AOL account, and he then contacted her through IM, according to testimony. Sweeney asked if Farrington had ever asked her to have sex, and she said "no." Sweeney then asked if Farrington mentioned only having a sexual dream. The girl agreed. Also in cross-examination, the girl said she didn't know why she told Farrington she was 14 instead of 13 and if she ever used the Internet application "Rate Me." The older male friend of the girl is also expected to testify.
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