Man who had sex with girl (14) he met online avoids prison
A MAN has avoided jail 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 and May 7, 2011.
The court heard that the man, who cannot be named, contacted the girl on Bebo by sending her a friend request.
Garda Peter Kenny told Gerardine Small, prosecuting, that 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 before she and a friend went to meet him.
She later went back to the man's house with him where they had intercourse. She also had sex on two other occasions, the court heard.
On May 9, 2011, the girl went to a garda station with her mother and made a statement of complaint.
The man was arrested on June 23, 2011, and immediately made admissions, saying the girl had told him she was 16.
The court heard that he had no previous convictions and has been registered as a sex offender.
Under cross-examination by Sean Gillane, defending, Gda Kenny agreed the man was genuinely remorseful and pleaded guilty at an early stage.
Mr Gillane said his client thought 16 was the age of consent, but now accepts 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-year suspended sentence on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years.