A Mater Hospital cleaner who was jailed for five years for possessing child-abuse material had passed garda vetting despite convictions abroad for sexual corruption and abduction of a child, it has emerged.
The hospital has said it is now examining the situation further given the seriousness of the crimes involved.
Constantin Maxim (48) of Dorset Street Lower, Dublin city, pleaded guilty to possessing 1,458 images of children on his mobile phone last May. He further admitted knowingly distributing or disseminating a hand-drawn image and three videos of child sex abuse material.
A hearing last week at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Maxim previously served a prison sentence in his native Romania for an offence of sexual corruption and abduction of a minor for sexual purposes.
Handing down a five-year sentence, Judge Martin Nolan described Maxim’s offending as “heinous”.
Maxim worked as a cleaner in the Mater Hospital in Dublin but was removed from his role when the allegations came to light.
A statement from a spokesperson at the Mater Hospital to the Irish Independent said patient and staff safety is its main priority.
“The individual concerned was not employed directly by the hospital and we were not aware of the details of this case. However, we can confirm that the company in which he was employed had followed all processes required for any individual to work onsite at the Mater, including garda vetting,” said the spokesperson.
Judge Nolan ordered Maxim to be placed on the sex offenders’ register
“When the allegations came to light, the external contracting company removed the individual from the hospital while due process was followed.
“Given the seriousness of the crimes involved, the Mater Hospital is examining the issue further,” they added.
An Garda Síochána were asked by the Irish Independent how a person with convictions abroad could be passed by the garda vetting procedure. No answer was available at the time of publication.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard last week that Maxim had sought to exploit other children by initiating Snapchat conversations.
He previously had a 20-year career with the Romanian defence forces, during which time he served twice with Nato in Iraq.
Detective Garda Brian Hunt told the court that gardaí got information in May last year that a Facebook account and multiple Snapchat accounts had been used to upload the offending material.
Maxim used Facebook to pose as a 15-year-old girl called Christina and sent a large number of sexually explicit messages to children aged between 10 and 12
All accounts were linked to Maxim’s email address, and a warrant was obtained to search his apartment.
His phone was analysed and found to contain about a thousand images of child sex abuse material involving images of children engaging in or witnessing sexual acts.
The phone also contained around 450 images of children exposing their genitalia or anal region.
A further 12,000 images of adult and bestiality were found on the phone, where the ages of the participants could not be established.
Maxim used Facebook to pose as a 15-year-old girl called Christina and sent a large number of sexually explicit messages to three different children, aged between 10 and 12. He also tried to elicit the children to send him sexualised images of themselves. One child did send images of herself, the court heard.
Maxim’s legal team told the court he suffered PTSD after his army experiences in Iraq, and has received no support for this from the Romanian defence forces. He said Maxim voluntarily surrendered himself to gardaí, accepted he had done wrong and apologised.
Judge Nolan ordered Maxim to be placed on the sex offenders’ register and backdated the sentence to July 7, 2022.