IT'S a sad day when children no longer feel safe in their hometown and the simple task of walking to school becomes a dreaded ordeal.
This was the reality for three young Gladstone girls, who gave separate statements to police after a 51-year-old man exposed himself to them on a number of occasions.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty in the Gladstone Magistrates Court to four counts of indecent treatment of a child under the age of 16 by wilful exposure.
On November 30 2016, a 14-year-old girl was walking to a Gladstone high school when she heard a wolf-whistle.
She ignored it, but turned around when she heard it for a second time.
She was faced with the confronting image of a man, standing naked in his home, with the screen door open.
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The man yelled something out to the girl that she couldn't understand, and she decided to keep walking.
On an unknown date between March 31 and June 1, 2016, a 15-year-old girl walking to school with a friend and saw the same man outside his house watering his yard with a hose.
When the man saw the two girls, he went inside and came back out naked.
The man called out 'hey!' to the girls, but the pair kept walking.
Between October 23-29, the same victim of the previous offence was walking to school with a friend, both in their uniforms, when she saw the man again.
This time he was standing naked behind a closed screen door.
The 15-year-old told her friend "don't look, don't look ... we will be okay".
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In her statement the victim told police she 'freaked out' when she saw the man standing behind the door.
On November 7, a third victim walking along the Gladstone street in her uniform on her way to school, saw the man.
He was again standing in the doorway of his home, naked.
He called out, 'hey, you girl' to the teenager, however she stayed on the opposite side of the road and called her mum when she was out of sight.
After the reports were made, police launched an investigation into the man and he was subsequently charged.
Gladstone Magistrate Melanie Ho ordered the man to serve a two probation term, and did not record a conviction.