Saturday 24 August 2019

Man (38) who sent explicit texts to teen girl 'was suffering from rural isolation'

Mobile phone (stock image)
Mobile phone (stock image)

Ralph Riegel

A MAN who sent a flurry of explicit and upsetting text messages to a teenage girl was suffering from social and rural isolation.

The 38 year old man pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to the campaign of harassment against the 17 year old.

He admitted sending more than 80 messages on some days to the girl between May 2015 and May 2016, some of which were very explicit in nature.

Both the defendant and the victim have addresses in the east Cork area.

Judge Sean O'Donnabháin was told the defendant was deeply remorseful over his actions and had brought €1,000 to court to offer as compensation to the victim.

Gardaí were contacted by the girl's family on May 16 2016 after they became very concerned about a flurry of explicit texts she had been receiving.

The girl did not know who was sending the texts as she did not recognise the two mobile phone numbers involved.

The court heard the 38 year old man had two unregistered mobile phones to which the texts and calls were later traced.

However, a Garda investigation led to the defendant being identified.

Gardaí were unable to determine how the defendant obtained the teen's mobile phone number.

The court was told the man's family had no knowledge of his actions and were deeply upset by what happened.

The defendant had been suffering from 'social and rural isolation' as he had been living alone with very little contact with others since his father, due to ill health, had to move out of the family home and into a nursing care facility.

Since the incidents came to light, his extended family have been very supportive and the defendant now resides with his sister.

The court was told he is now receiving all the care he requires.

However, Judge O'Donnabháin was told the defendant has a previous conviction for a similar offence.

In 2009, he received an 11 month prison sentence before the district court for harassment.

Judge O'Donnabháin was told that a psychiatric report on the man deemed him to be at a very low risk of re-offending.

The judge said he felt a custodial sentence was unlikely to be of benefit and he wanted to see how the man got on with his family support and additional care regime.

He adjourned sentencing until next year to determine how the defendant was responding.

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