Drunken admission nearly cost netball coach freedom

A DRUNKEN online admission by a volunteer netball coach that if one of his under-13 athletes was a few years older, he'd kiss her, has nearly cost him his freedom.

Throughout 2013, Toby Kareem Lehmann, 20, was volunteering as the under-13 netball coach at his old school Faith Lutheran College.

Over a period of months, Lehmann became friends with one of the girls on the team after adding her on Facebook to try and return some earrings she left at a game.

For months, the two spoke on and off online and saw each other regularly at the Saturday games.

About November 6 last year, Lehmann, who was working as a groundsman at the school, had been drinking. He was suffering from depression and at times turned to alcohol to get through it.

He was talking to the girl on Facebook and told her she was "his kind of girl" and he would have kissed her if she was a few years older.

Lehmann pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court to using the internet to procure a person under 16.

The court heard the Facebook conversation was seen by the girl's sister, who told her parents, who in turn told the school.

The principal suspended Lehmann, who admitted to sending the message and resigned from working at the school.

Judge Sarah Bradley said while Lehmann's offence was serious, it was one of the lowest levels of offending for the charge she'd seen. Lehmann was placed on an 18-month probation order.

No conviction was recorded.

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