Thursday 21 September 2017

Child porn dad gets 51 years – but walks free

Liam Cooley outside court
Liam Cooley outside court

Ciaran Murphy

A FATHER who distributed an image of a one-year-old infant made to perform a sex act on a man was banned from using the internet for 15 years but walked free from court.

Father-of-five Liam Cooley, of Bath Street in Waterford, pleaded guilty to three counts of the possession of child pornography pictures and six counts in connection with distributing the images.

He received a total of 51 years in jail to run concurrently but was eventually bailed pending an appeal against the severity of the sentence.

Cooley (61) previously worked at the St Vincent de Paul Men's Hostel in the city and was the manager of a local youth sports team.

He was found to be in the possession of 388 separate images and video clips of children for viewing.

Two of these images involved child sexual abuse with an animal and 238 of them involved children with their genitals exposed.

The accused "was co-operative" and handed over a laptop when interviewed by gardai, the court was told.

Det Gda Paul Fitzpatrick told Judge Tom Teehan at Circuit Criminal Court in Waterford that some 141 images were "on the high end of the scale".

Paddy McCarthy, defending, said that Cooley "may not have been fully aware what he was getting involved in".

Mr McCarthy said his client had engaged on a rehabilitative programme for offenders that he had yet to complete

SERIOUS

Judge Teehan yesterday said the crimes were "extremely serious", especially as the images contained "totally innocent people who do not have the capacity" to understand what was being done to them.

"Some of them were as young as one-year-old," the judge added.

Judge Teehan sentenced Cooley to three years on three counts of possession of the images and seven years on six counts of the distribution of images. All sentences are to run concurrently.

However, he suspended the entirety of the sentence on the basis that the defence are to appeal the severity "with expedition" to the next sitting of Court of Criminal Appeal for the matter to be listed for hearing.

Irish Independent

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