Man who planned to have sex with boy (13) live on internet is jailed
A 49-year-old man who offered to show a live film on the internet of himself having sex with a boy was caught after gardai received a tip-off from police in Britain and New Zealand.
The sex offender, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, was caught downloading child porn when gardai raided his home.
He received a 12-year sentence at the Central Criminal Court yesterday for producing and distributing images of his sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy.
Gardai recovered more than 50 images of the boy's abuse, which occurred at the man's house following a period of "grooming".
They also recovered more than 50,000 other child pornography images and 3,000 video files from the man's computer equipment.
He had recorded his sexual abuse of the boy and distributed images through the internet using a programme to connect with others of a similar inclination.
He had categorised his online collection of 25,000 child pornography images into several "levels", which he then shared with others based on the level of the images they shared with him.
Det Sgt Tom Mahon said that prior to the sexual abuse there was a period of "grooming" while the boy was aged between 12 and 13.
In July 2011, gardai received information from police in both the UK and New Zealand about pornographic material involving an Irish participant.
There was an element of urgency to the information as the Irish man was offering to show a live stream of himself abusing the boy.
The UK police were able to trace the school uniform of the boy in the image to a town in Ireland.
The New Zealand police had infiltrated a forum where people were exchanging child pornography and passed their information about the Irish participant on to gardai.
When officers arrived to search the man's home, child pornography was being being downloaded on his computer and he made admissions.
Det Gda Cathal Delaney said the man was involved in exchanging photographs online.
There were 25,000 images in the system, categorised from levels one to eight.
Det Gda Delaney said a person could only move up a level in the man's system by sharing images with him, "using child pornography as a currency".
He said the man was in contact on a regular basis with about 410 other users. "They fed off each other in conversation," said Det Gda Delaney.
He said the man had been promising another user he would have sex with the boy live on camera.
The man pleaded guilty to sample counts of production and distribution of child pornography, sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual assault, rape and attempted rape of the teenage boy between September 2010 and July 2011.
He also pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of child pornography related to an image of a five-year-old boy.
The man is currently serving a four-year sentence for possession of child pornography imposed last year.
His sentence yesterday on the remaining charges in the case had been delayed while legal matters were addressed.
Brendan Grehan, defending, said that the accused told gardai he had been abused as a child. He has been in custody since July 2011.
He said the accused had prepared a letter of apology, which he handed in to court. The man said he had a distorted view because of his own childhood and believed he was not hurting anyone.
"I can put my hand on my heart and say things like this will never happen again" he said, adding that he was "thoroughly ashamed and sickened" by his actions.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said there was a limited number of cases in the Court of Criminal Appeal to give him guidance on sentencing in this area, and his sentence had regard to those cases. The judge said he was taking into account the aggravating factors, including the breach of trust, the effect on the victim and his family, the number of offences and the perpetuation of the offences on the internet for all time.
He noted the factors in favour of the accused, such as his guilty plea, his absence of previous convictions and that none of the offences had any commercial benefit to him.
Mr Justice Carney imposed a 12-year sentence and suspended the final three years.
He declared the man a sex offender as required by law and ordered 18 months' post-release supervision.