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Barnes, of Darlington, admitted 17 specimen charges of making indecent images and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Teesside Crown Court heard how Barnes was arrested at his family home in October 2009 following an operation carried out by Staffordshire Police.
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.
Kieran Rainey, mitigating, said the girl encouraged Barnes - then aged 22 - by saying she liked older people, but accepted he should have 'disengaged'.
Mr Rainey said his client had a small circle of friends - as the son of a career army officer who moved around the country - and 'character flaws'.
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.'The judge is right, however, when he says most people will be disturbed by an adult receiving a suspended sentence for engaging in activity such as this.'It is abhorrent that anyone in their 20s should, in effect, go unpunished for something that could have led to a far more serious offence.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.Operation Bamboo officers were investigating chat-room conversations a 13-year-old girl from Stoke was having with a number of adult males.