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Saturday 16 December 2017

Teen sex act witnesses urged to come forward

Tom Brady Security Editor

A CROSS-Border investigation is under way into the posting online of images of a 17-year-old girl performing a sex act on a young man at the weekend.

Gardai are liaising with the PSNI after the man shown in the internet pictures was identified as being from west Belfast.

Several images of the incident were removed from the internet after their initial publication caused uproar.

However, some continued to be posted last evening despite a stream of complaints.

Gardai said they were carrying out a number of inquiries to identify the young people in the various images.

They were also trying to establish who had initially posted the images on the web.

They appealed to anybody who witnessed the incident or has knowledge of the images being posted online to contact them on the confidential telephone line, 1800 666111.

Meanwhile, a number of social media companies have made efforts to block the publication of the images.

Facebook announced that it had removed a page containing photos of the incident as the images violated its terms of service.

Twitter and Instagram also made similar efforts to block access to the photos.

The father of 15-year-old Co Leitrim schoolgirl Ciara Pugsley, who took her own life after being bullied online, has appealed to people not to post "hurtful comments" about the teenager in question.

Jonathan Pugsley, whose daughter died last September after a relentless campaign of online abuse, has called on authorities at the sex-act teenager's school to intervene and provide emotional support to her.

"If people are abusing her with messages online, they need to be found. It's outrageous if they're abusing her like that," he said. "I think schools have to be more pro-active to bullying in general.

"This is harassment and is a form of bullying. I would assume she's getting counselling anyway. There are an awful lot of children who are affected by situations like that.

There are also a lot of people close to those children who are affected, and we must help these people too.

"This girl obviously didn't agree for that photograph to be posted online.

"I think people just take total liberties with photographs they take and just throw them up on Facebook.

"But people might not want them to be there. It's an infringement of your liberties."

Irish Independent

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