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Saturday 23 August 2014

Former garda jailed for two years after sex act with underage teen in graveyard

Ralph Riegel

Published 08/11/2013 | 16:34

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Damien Jermyn

A FORMER Garda who had oral sex with a teenage boy in a graveyard was jailed for two years.

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Damien Jermyn (30), formerly based in Kerry and whose birthday was on Wednesday, pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to two charges involving the defilement of a child.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain warned a prison sentence was warranted because of the enormous breach of trust involved but agreed to suspend the final 12 months of the term.

Jermyn first came in contact with the then 16 year old via a gay Internet site called 'Gayrad'.

The former garda referred to himself as 'Kerry Dude'.

The teen referred to himself online as 'Sexy Cork Boy'.

They agreed to exchange mobile phone numbers and then maintained an exchange of text messages.

Jermyn then arranged to meet the teen at an unspecified address in Cork.

Over 700 texts were exchanged between the pair.

On two of the meetings, Jermyn had oral sex with the teen.

Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) official, Nicholas Hardem, said they received a formal complaint that a garda was involved in a sexual relationship with an underage boy.

Jermyn, who is gay and was a serving officer for eight years, was immediately suspended.

During the course of the investigation, Jermyn later resigned.

The court was told that Jermyn was not aware on the first occasion he met the youngster that he was underage.

However, Mr Hardem said that on the second occasion they met up, the defendant knew that the teen was aged under 17 and that he came from a troubled background.

The court was told that Jermyn provided the teen with alco-pop drinks including 'Wicked'.

Judge O'Donnabhain was told by defence counsel, Tom Creed, that when they met, the boy was six months shy of being 17 at which age there would have been no offence committed.

Jermyn, who had been based at Killarney Garda Station, admitted abusing the 16 year old boy who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The charges were of defilement of a child under the age of 17 contrary to Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006.

Both defilement charges involved the teen being subjected to oral sex.

The offences occurred on January 19 2011 and on a date unknown between February 1 and May 5, 2011.

Jermyn of Main St, Bantry, Co Cork had pleaded guilty to both offences on the first occasion they came before the Circuit Criminal Court last April.

Mr Creed said Jermyn deeply regretted what happened.

He said the matter has had a terrible impact on Jermyn who has now effectively lost everything including his garda career.

"He loved his job and worked very hard. He liked serving the community and was well liked on the town where he was stationed," Mr Creed said.

Jermyn, who had a difficult relationship with his late father, discovered in his mid teens that he was attracted to men.

"But the community in west Cork was not the best place to broadcast that (attraction). He 'came out' in 2008. When he moved to Cork he had a relationship with a 20 year old male. He later got involved in the gay website and began meeting other gay men."

Jermyn now lives with his mother, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, and helps on the family farm.

Judge O'Donnabhain acknowledged Jermyn's plea, his remorse and his co-operation with investigating gardai as well as the loss of his career.

"But I cannot for a moment lose sight of the enormous breach of trust. Not only were you an adult male who knew you were having sexual relations with a child and there was a very significant difference in age, you knew his circumstances and that is what is impelling me to give a custodial sentence," he said.

The judge said that while he was also aware that a prison sentence is particularly difficult for former members of An Garda Siochana, he had no option but to impose a prison term.

He jailed Jermyn for two years, with 12 months suspended, and also listed him on the Sex Offenders Register.

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