Saturday 19 August 2017

Judge 'cannot recall more repulsive' case as man jailed for eight years for 'depraved' child abuse

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A man who videotaped his brother raping and sexually torturing his severely disabled six year old nephew was jailed for eight years.

The Tipperary-based East European national was told by Judge Tom Teehan at Tipperary Circuit Criminal Court today that the child pornography images involved were "repulsive."

"In my memory I cannot recall more repulsive facts than the facts in this case," he said.

He said the severely disabled boy had "instinctively looked for love and protection from his (father) and senior family members."

Instead, he said the child was subjected to "repulsive and depraved acts perpetrated by his father which were recorded by his uncle."

Judge Teehan said the details of the case were "base" and "a violation of the young child's rights and privacy."

He said it was clear that the little boy had suffered significant damage from the abuse.

Sitting with his head bowed, the 27-year-old man remained silent as he was handed the prison term.

Judge Teehan imposed a 10 year prison term but suspended the final two years in light of the defendant's plea.

He directed that the man be included on the Sex Offender's Register and forbidden from ever owning a computer.

The man's older brother, who committed the rapes on the disabled child, was previously jailed for 20 years by the Central Criminal Court.

Judge Teehan described him as clearly "a malign influence" on both the defendant and the family.

The images were only traced to an address in Tipperary after Gardai received information from Australian and New Zealand police that there was an Irish link to an horrific abuse website under international investigation.

The investigation, code named Operation Amethyst, led to a series of raids across Ireland by the Garda computer crimes and child pornography unit.

Such was the scale of the investigation that Europol, Interpol and the FBI were consulted.

The East European man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his nephew, pleaded guilty to four separate charges of production of child pornography before Tipperary Circuit Criminal Court.

The charges were brought contrary to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998.

Judge Teehan was told that, following a series of Garda raids on addresses in Tipperary including a business plant and a family home, a total of 12,427 images files and 68 video files were recovered.

The main raid was conducted on March 25, 2015.

Items seized included files on computers, external hard drives and even a USB memory stick.

The offences involved occurred at a number of addresses in Tipperary between January 1, 2014 and March 28, 2015.

Detective Siobhan Doyle said some of the files depicted the rape and sexual abuse of the severely disabled six year old nephew of the defendant.

Judge Teehan was told that the 27-year-old defendant knew his older brother was interested in sexually explicit images of children ranging in age from toddlers to six year olds including both boys and girls.

The defendant did not participate in the rape which was only carried out by the child's father.

The child's uncle recorded the abuse occurring.

Judge Teehan was told that the purpose of recording the abuse was that it could be traded online for other images of child abuse.

Australian police briefed Gardai about a child pornography website it had traced where a man with the nicknames 'The Master' and 'Little Bear' was attempting to organise the exchange of abusive images.

The nicknames referred to the defendant's Tipperary-based brother.

In one chat post 'The Master' said that he was: "interested in little girls aged nought to seven but only has access to a young boy aged six."

The defendant is a qualified IT worker and had moved to Ireland to work with his older brother in his newly established business.

He told Gardai that his older brother was more powerful than he was.

The defendant also claimed to have been abused himself while he was a child.

"He said he always did what his brother told him to," one Garda statement revealed.

The defendant told Gardai he did what his brother told him even when he realised what was happening was wrong.

Such is the severe nature of the disability the young victim was born with, he cannot speak and requires round the clock care.

The little boy also has mobility problems and is incontinent.

Detective Doyle said that, when Gardai first called to the home of the defendant's brother, the officers immediately recognised the disabled boy, who was spotted holding his father's hand, as the same youngster being abused in the online images.

He was further identified as the victim of the abuse from a distinctive blanket on which he was lying in the video-tapes - with an identical blanket being found in the home of the defendant's brother.

Detective Doyle warned that the images involved represented: "One of the worst cases our unit has ever come across."

Judge Teehan was told by social worker, Terry Bradshaw, that the little boy had experienced "sexual abuse of the most extreme kind."

"I believe that every time someone views these images it constitutes ongoing abuse and violation of (the youngster)."

Mr Bradshaw said that, given existing technology, it was virtually impossible to retrieve the images of the youngster that had now gone online.

One of the tragic aspects of the case is that the child involved was very fond of his father.

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