BEFRIENDING a teenage girl on a social network and then raping her has landed a young man behind bars for 13 years.
Esaromo Vakacegu, 23, was sentenced to two years for abduction and 13 years for each of the two counts of rape he was convicted of.
The High Court in Suva ordered the sentences to be served concurrently, meaning Vakacegu serves only 13 years.
Justice Prabaharan Kumararatnam said Vakacegu had met the 15-year-old girl in Suva after being friends on social network site Facebook.
He said the girl was taken to a hotel in Suva on the pretext she was being taken to the Education Ministry; there she was raped.
The judge said rape was a crime frowned upon by the public and that the sentence should reflect the public outrage.
Justice Kumararatnam said in this case a juvenile was raped and, according to the Constitution, the court had a duty to protect children from such crimes.
He said Vakacegu deceived the teenager, committed a heinous crime against her and then made her relive the ordeal in the courtroom.
He said the court did consider Vakacegu was a first offender and had wanted to undertake theological studies to become a pastor.
Vakacegu becomes eligible for parole after serving 10 years.