Sunday 22 April 2018

Man who posed as teen girl on Facebook to sexually exploit underage boys sentenced to five years

The man threatened to publish explicit images of one victim online if the child didn't send him more
The man threatened to publish explicit images of one victim online if the child didn't send him more

Declan Brennan

A young man who posed as a teenage girl on Facebook in order to sexually exploit underage boys has been sentenced to five years with 18 months suspended.

Raymond Brennan (22) was 19 when he convinced three boys aged between 13 and 14, to send him sexually explicit pictures of themselves and expose themselves via an online video link.

He threatened to publish explicit images of one victim online if the child didn't send him more.

Brennan also met up with one victim and had sex with the 14-year-old boy.

Before targeting the boys on Facebook he had already been abusing another boy.

Brennan later told gardai that he didn't think there was anything wrong with what he was doing and that he was exploring his sexuality.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said that this exploration became exploitation and Brennan showed no regard for the damage and suffering caused by his actions.

The offending began in 2008 while Brennan himself was a minor but continued into 2012 when he became an adult.

Brennan pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 13 sample counts, including sexual assault, defilement and defilement of a child under 15 years old between 2008 and 2010.

The sexual abuse began when his victim was aged 11 or 12 years and Brennan was aged 15.

The court heard that the victim has suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of the abuse and that it has had a huge negative effect on his family.

The Dublin man also admitted three charges of exploitation of a child and two counts of defilement of a child at locations in Dublin on various dates between April and October 2012.

Finally he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and to twelve counts of sexually exploiting another child at his home in Dublin on dates between March 18 and October 12, 2012.

This exploitation again involved coercing the victim to engage in explicit acts over the internet.

Judge Ring said these were very serious offenses and involved abusing the trust of vulnerable people.

She noted that he is still of a very young age, had apologised to the victim and admitted to all the offences.

He has no other convictions and is assessed at being at a medium risk of reoffending. 

Judge Ring backdated the sentence to June 25 last, when he went into custody, and ordered that he is not to engage with social media sites without the knowledge of the Probation Services.

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