Saturday 20 January 2018

Man (49) sent crude texts to boy, court told

Sonya McLean

A 49-year-old man has received a three-year suspended sentence for sending crude text messages with a strong sexual content to a 15-year-old boy.

Kenneth Shortall, of Bluebell Avenue, Bluebell, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five charges of sending phone messages that were grossly offensive, indecent or obscene on dates between November 12 and November 23, 2010.

He had three previous convictions which included theft and criminal damage, the most recent of which was in 1996.

Tara Burns SC, prosecuting, said the book of evidence contained 61 such messages sent from Shortall's phone to the teenager but the DPP accepted pleas to five charges.

The gardai were satisfied that some of those 61 messages were crude jokes that Shortall had forwarded to a number of people, including the teenager, in a group message.

Garda Kevin Lynn told the court Shortall and his partner Colin Huggins had befriended the young boy and his family a number of months previously.

He had been sending the messages to the boy for a little more than a month when the teenager's older friend noticed them and told the boy's mother. The gardai were alerted in February 2011 as was the HSE.

Gda Lynn agreed with Ms Burns that "nothing further arises" from either the garda or the HSE investigations.

The boy told gardai he had asked Shortall to stop sending the messages but didn't know when he had asked him to do so.

Shortall was arrested in May 2011 and although he acknowledged that he had been sending text messages to the boy he exercised his right to silence when questioned about the content in them. He told gardai that some of the texts were just slagging and banter.

Judge Ring suspended the sentence for three years and ordered that Shortall engage with the probation services for 18 months.

Irish Independent

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