Wednesday 21 February 2018

Man (27) avoids jail after sexual exploitation of 15-year-old school girl

Declan Brennan and Conor Gallagher

A man who may be on the autism spectrum has avoided a jail term for the sexual exploitation of a school girl.

Theodore McGivern (27) sent a photograph of his erect penis to the 15-year-old girl days after meeting her on a city centre street. He knew she was doing her Junior Certificate at the time and telephoned her after some of her exams to see how she had done.

The victim told gardaí that she later invited McGivern into her home where they went to her bedroom and he touched various areas of her body. He stopped when the victim told him to do so.

McGivern of Grove Meadow, Ballinahinch Lower, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to meeting a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation at a location in Dublin on June 13, 2013.

He also admitting sending an indecent message by telephone on a date between June 8 and 13, 2013. He has no previous convictions.

Garnet Orange SC, defending, said that forensic psychological services had assessed McGivern as an “anxious, immature and psychologically vulnerable man” who has “difficulty understanding the nuances of social communication”.

The assessment also stated McGivern is subject to suicidal ideation. Another assessment found he has “elevated levels of impulsivity and finds it difficult to resist temptation”.

This assessment stated that he has a “significant number of traits associated with autistic spectrum disorder”, is psychologically vulnerable and has an active fantasy life.

Judge Martin Nolan said the medical reports give grounds to believe he may be autistic. He said that McGivern's behaviour was “deeply inappropriate” but that he was satisfied that he is not a danger to society.

The judge said McGivern's actions led to his detection and that this gave him some comfort that he was not a devious person. He imposed a two and a half year sentence which he suspended for two years. He also ordered that McGivern have no contact with the girl and that he undergo two years probation supervision.

Gda Sharon O'Donoghue agreed with Mr Orange's submission that McGivern was a bit of a loner and showed a lack of maturity.

She told Grainne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that the victim was standing outside a shop on Dame St., in Dublin city with her friend when McGivern told her she had a nice ass. She said he then went into a shop and brought alcohol for them.

He told the girls he was aged 25 and the victim said she was aged 15 and her friend was aged 16. At one point he made a sexual remark to the younger girl.

They met the next day and he kissed her. He made friends with her on Facebook and days later he rang her after one of her exams and sent her a picture of his face.

Days later they met outside her college and they kissed again. Later that day he rang her and told her he wanted to kiss her all over her body.

The court heard he told her: “You don't know how hard I want to fuck you. I’m so hard”. She was embarrassed by this and held the phone away from her. Shortly after this call he sent a picture of his penis to her mobile phone.

Two days later she asked him to come to her house and they kissed and he suggested they go to her bedroom where he touched her breast and bum.

Mr Orange said this was a disturbing and upsetting case but not one in which the offender had hidden behind a false identify in order to groom a child victim.

He said his client had been open about his own age and his identity and was readily traceable. He told gardaí he thought she was 17 but later admitted that this was unrealistic if she was sitting her Junior Cert.

He said it wouldn't be unknown for younger people to describe themselves as older. He submitted that perhaps the girls had exuded a maturity beyond their years while his client had shown an immaturity for his age.

He said the meeting of the girls was in the context of larger groups of young people of various ages meeting up around the Central Bank and St Stephen's Green in Dublin city and skateboarding and hanging around.

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