Thursday 22 August 2019

Jail for man who sexually assaulted teen after sending images over Facebook

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Olivia Kelleher

A MAN who sexually assaulted a vulnerable 14 year old after two weeks of sending her sexual messages and images by Facebook has been jailed for four years with the last two and a half years suspended.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mark McGann (also known as Foley), first met the teen in early 2017 and followed up with messages through Facebook.

Detective Garda Rachel McGrath said the girl claimed she was  nearly 16 but soon afterwards told him she was fourteen. He was 21 at the time of offences.

Det Garda McGrath said McGann, of no fixed abode, sent two naked frontal images of himself to the teen and requested the same from her but she declined. The images were sent to her through her Facebook account.

“He arranged to meet her. She was in her school uniform. They French-kissed on a laneway. He placed his hands on her breast and gave her love-bites on her neck and breast and tried to place his hand inside her underwear (but did not),” Det Garda McGrath said.

“A complaint was made and he was arrested and detained for questioning. He proceeded to make admissions,” the detective said.

Detective Garda McGrath agreed with prosecution barrister Imelda Kelly's description of the young girl as "vulnerable."

The teenager submitted a victim impact statement to Judge Brian O'Callaghan which was not read out in court.

Prosecution barrister, Imelda Kelly, described the victim as particularly vulnerable. The detective agreed with this description.

Defence barrister, John Devlin, said that his client co operated fully with gardai. He described Mr McGann as a "timid individual."

The court heard that the messaging contact was intense over a short period  of time with about 200 messages exchanged over a fortnight, many of the messages being of a sexual nature.

The Facebook messages including indecent words and obscene images — the second charge to which he pleaded guilty — were sent in the fortnight before the sexual assault.

Mr McGann apologised to the victim and the courts for his behaviour. He has lived through periods of homelessness and has significant issues with immaturity the court heard.

Judge O'Callaghan said that the young lady received a terrible fright.

"Her very being was attacked by you. You should have known better. You were 21."

Jailing McGann for four years with the last two and a half years suspended he ordered that he keep away from the victim in the case upon his release from prison.

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