Tuesday 21 November 2017

Man avoids jail for having sex with girl (14) he met online

Jessica Magee

A MAN has avoided a jail term for having sex with a girl he met on a social networking website when he was 19 and she was 14.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four counts of defilement of the girl between January 1, 2011 and May 7, 2011.

The court heard the now 21-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, contacted the girl on a social networking site by sending her a friend request.

Garda Peter Kenny told Gerardine Small BL prosecuting the girl asked who it was and he said he was a “randomer”. They then started texting each other and when he asked her age she said she was 16 and he claimed to be 18.

They continued texting back and forth before she and a friend went to meet him.

She later went back to the man’s house with him where they had both  had sex. The girl also had sex on two other occasions, the court heard.

On May 9, 2011 the girl went to a garda station in the city with her mother and made a statement of complaint.

The man was arrested on June 23 2011 and made admissions immediately saying the girl had told him she was 16 which he thought was the age of consent.

The court heard he has no previous convictions and has now been registered as a sex offender.

Under cross-examination by Sean Gillane SC, defending, Gda Kenny agreed the man was genuinely remorseful and pleaded guilty at an early stage.

A character witness said that the man had a very difficult upbringing and his family situation had broken down.

Mr Gillane said his client was subject to serious deprivation but he worked to put himself through college.

He said his client thought 16 was the age of consent but now accepts that he has broken the law and suggested that being on the sex offenders’ register was punishment in itself.

Judge Patricia Ryan gave him a three years' suspended sentence, on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years.

The man has also been instructed to comply with probation services for 18 months, have no contact with the victim or her family, and address his unresolved psychological problems.

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