A PENSIONER has been convicted of child exploitation after a jury found him guilty of offering two 12-year-old girls €5 to participate in a sex act in the back of his car.
Peter Clarke, of Tully, Corcreaghy, Louth village, had denied the offences.
Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court was told that the 68-year-old accused was in his Jaguar car when he saw the girls outside a shop on the September 9, 2011.
The girls told the court that he put €5 on the table and asked them to spend the night with him.
In an interview with gardai he said that if they had agreed, that he probably would have had sex with them.
In reply to gardai who asked did he want to have sex with the girls he said: "I'd say I did," and asked where he had in mind to go with them, he replied, "I'd say the back seat of the car."
When the gardai asked: "You invited these young girls to take part in a sexual act?" the accused replied: "Yes."
He told gardai he had a preference for girls aged between 12 and 14 but only girls who were not bigger than him because, "I'm afraid they would hit me".
One of the girls told the jury that she and her friend were on their school lunch break when a chubby man with a distinctive facial feature approached them.
She said he put a fiver on the table, went back to his car – stared at them and then returned. She said the man asked them to spend the night in bed with him.
It took the jury 25 minutes to return unanimous guilty verdicts.
Sentencing has been adjourned until December.