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Monday 5 December 2016

Paedophile jailed for 10 years over child porn ring

Sonya McLean

Published 06/03/2010 | 05:00

A man who distributed pornographic images he had taken of five children -- including his abuse of one young girl -- to 150 fellow paedophiles has been jailed for 10 years.

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The man's images included one he took of a three-year-old girl exposing her genitals and holding a handwritten sign "I'm your little slut", while a number of images he distributed showed him sexually abusing another six-year-old girl.

He also took a video of himself performing a sex act in front of a one-year-old baby and images of a semi-naked two-year-old girl. He traded the images rather than charging a fee for them.

Those he recorded of the six-year-old bore her name and were referred to as a series before he distributed them internationally. He also downloaded a number of images including depictions of the rape of young girls between the age of four and 15 years.

The 50-year-old Dublin man pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five charges of production of child pornography, one of distribution, two charges of sexual exploitation and one charge of sexual assault on dates between January 1, 2005, and November 7, 2008. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Katherine Delahunt said it was an offence "with a sordid history" and that the accused had taken the images for his "own gratification".

She said the victim impact reports prepared by the children's mothers demonstrated the "catastrophic effect" his crime had on the young girls.

The judge said she had taken into account the age of the children, the nature of the images, the high number of images traded and the fact that he had engaged in what could be considered "a commercial enterprise".

She said the case was at the "upper end of seriousness" before she ordered that he be under post-release supervision for four years and registered him as a sex offender.

The court heard that the accused was identified by gardai after they were contacted by the FBI in America in relation to the distribution of child pornographic images from a particular email address.

Gardai were later able to link this address back to the accused and were supplied with his name and address from the service provider. He initially denied knowing the children in the images but admitted downloading them and using a false name, "Stephen Gallagher".

Statement

He later came voluntarily to the station to make a statement after the gardai identified the children in the images.

The man said he was attracted to teenage girls in his 20s but over the years he developed an interest in pre-teen girls. He said at the time he did not have access to pornography but would go to public swimming pools where he would deliberately brush against young children.

He admitted to later downloading child pornography and said he "lurked" on sites. He said he was deliberately cautious and would not use an email address.

The accused said that in 2004 or 2005 he became less careful and started to communicate with other paedophiles.

The court heard that the accused's face was erased on the images so he could not be identified, but he admitted to gardai that he had undressed the child, had exposed himself to her and had stood with her while they were both undressed.

He denied that he had ever touched the girl or made her touch him but gardai concluded from further analysis of these images that Leahy had clearly sexually assaulted the particular girl. He later admitted to this and described his actions as "unforgivable".

"I just hope she is young enough not to remember," he told gardai.

Irish Independent

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