Sunday 18 August 2019

Jail term for man who sexually assaulted girl after messaging blitz

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Olivia Kelleher

A man who sexually assaulted a vulnerable 14-year-old after sending her sexual messages and images on Facebook has been jailed for 18 months.

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 14. He was 21 at the time of offences.

Det-Gda 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-Gda McGrath said.

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

Det-Gda 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.

Ms 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 gardaí.

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 included indecent words and obscene images were sent in the fortnight before the sexual assault.

McGann apologised to the victim and the courts for his behaviour.

He had lived through periods of homelessness and had significant issues with immaturity, the court heard.

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

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.

Irish Independent

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