A FORMER garda who had oral sex with a teenage boy in a graveyard has been jailed for two years.
Damien Jermyn (30), formerly based in Killarney, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to two charges involving the defilement of a child.
Judge Sean O'Donnabhain warned that a prison sentence was warranted because of the enormous breach of trust involved.
Jermyn first came in contact with the then 16-year-old via a gay internet website, where the former officer referred to himself as Kerry Dude and the teenager used the name Sexy Cork Boy.
They agreed to exchange mobile numbers and maintained an exchange of texts – more than 700 were exchanged between the pair.
Jermyn arranged to meet the boy in Cork, and on two of the occasions Jermyn had oral sex with him.
Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) official Nicholas Hardem said they received a complaint that a garda was having a sexual relationship with an under-age boy.
Jermyn, a serving officer for eight years, was immediately suspended. During the course of the investigation, he resigned.
The court was told he was not aware on the first occasion he met the teenager that he was underage. However, Mr Hardem said that on the second occasion, the defendant knew the boy was under 17 and came from a troubled background.
Jermyn, of Main Street, Bantry, Co Cork, had pleaded guilty last April to both offences.
Defence counsel Tom Creed said the matter has had a terrible impact on Jermyn, who has now effectively lost everything, including his garda career.
Jermyn, who had a difficult relationship with his late father, discovered in his teens that he was attracted to men.
"He 'came out' in 2008," said Mr Creed. "When he moved to Cork, he had a relationship with a 20-year-old male. He later got involved in the gay website."
The judge acknowledged Jermyn's plea, his remorse and his co-operation with gardai as well as the loss of his career.
"But I cannot lose sight of the enormous breach of trust," he said. He jailed Jermyn for two years, with 12 months suspended.