A BALLARAT man was convicted of child stealing and sentenced to more than two years imprisonment earlier this week.
Dean Patrick James, 37, appeared at the County Court in Melbourne on Monday where he earlier pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography, child stealing and theft.
The court heard James spent up to three years chatting to a girl online and through text messages, before taking her to South Australia.
It was revealed the pair first met in an online chat room before they began texting each other and eventually exchanged semi-naked pictures of themselves.
The court heard that twice the girl, 13, had left home to stay with James, each time arriving at the Ballarat Railway Station dressed in her school uniform.
On the second occasion in April the pair drove from Ballarat to Mount Gambier where they were eventually found by Ballarat police.
Judge Richard Maidment sentenced James to two years and three months, with a minimum non-parole period of 18 months imprisonment.
James had already served 290 days of pre-sentence detention.