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22-year-old Facebook predator jailed for defilement and soliciting a child

22-year-old Facebook predator jailed for defilement and soliciting a child

A Meath man who used Facebook to try solicit a 14-year-old girl and her 12-year-old sister into having sex with him has been jailed for three years.

The 22-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his victims' identities, met with the older girl on three occasions and carried out sexual acts.

Transcripts from Facebook conversations showed he tried to convince her to bring her sister along on one occasion, saying they “could train her”.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to defilement in November 2012 and to soliciting a child to engage in a sexual act on the same date.

The girls' mother told the court in a victim impact report that she will never feel safe for her children again. She said her older daughter's childhood was ruined by the man and that he inflicted “an extra cruelty” on her by waiting so long to plead guilty.

The mother said that because of the delay in pleading guilty she had to prepare the child to give evidence in court, which terrified the girl and led to panic attacks.

Judge Patricia Ryan said that the abuse was planned and premeditated. She noted the age difference between the victims and the man, but also took into account his lack of previous convictions and his guilty plea.

She imposed a five year sentence with the final two years suspended. She also ordered that he be registered as a sex offender and that he undergo 18 months probation supervision on his release.

A local sergeant told Carl Hanahoe BL, prosecuting, that the man made contact with the 14-year-old on Facebook and they arranged to meet up. They kissed and she later performed oral sex on him.

Further sexual contact occurred during a second meeting. The girl then deleted her Facebook account and was forbidden by her mother to set up a new one. However the girl set a new account up in secret and resumed contact with the man.

During one online conversation, they planned to meet up and he asked her if she could bring someone to “have a threesome with”. The girl said she didn't think any of her friends would agree to this.

The man then suggested she bring her 12-year-old sister. The girl refused, saying that she “really didn't want to” and that her sister “still thinks boys have cooties.” The man pressed the issue and suggested they “could train her” but the girl refused.

The man and the older sister then met up a third time where there was further sexual contact.

A complaint was later made to gardaí and 22-year-old tried to flee but was quickly caught.

The garda told the court that during interview the man “tried to shift the emphasis” onto the girl. He claimed she had initiated the sexual acts and that he felt sorry for her. This view was not supported by the transcripts of their online conversations, the garda said.

The man denied knowing the teenager's true age or that he saw her date of birth on her Facebook profile. He told gardaí he was joking when he made reference to the girl's sister.

Defence counsel Derek Kinneally SC accepted there had been a delay in pleading guilty but said that his client now accepted the allegations. He said that the man had started a sex offenders course with One in Four and that he was judged by The Probation Service as being at a moderate risk of re-offending.

Counsel submitted that his client had led a “sheltered and somewhat restricted life” particularly regarding the opposite sex. He said his client suffered from anxiety and depression and that he couldn't work because he couldn't cope with the embarrassment and shame of what he did.