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Dublin teacher sexually assaulted and took pornographic pictures of four-year old

CourtsBy Aoife Nic Ardghail
Dublin teacher sexually assaulted and took pornographic pictures of four-year old

A Dublin trainee Montessori teacher who sexually assaulted and took pornographic pictures of a four-year-old child for his own use will be sentenced next month.

The court heard the child was afraid to go back to the specialised playschool and told her mother that the man (32) had taken photos of her "bum" and "pants".

Gardai later discovered 46 images of the girl sent from the man's phone to his email address, including photos of her private parts and of him with his finger in her mouth.

The man, who can't be named to protect the victim's identity, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault and production of child pornography on May 8, 2014.

He further pleaded guilty to possessing 688 images of child porn found on hard drives and computers during a raid on his premises, his family home and the playschool on May 15, 2014. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Donal O'Connell told Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that the child's parents contacted gardai after the little girl told them about the pictures. 

Two days later a garda search team raided three addresses and found the images, including 586 of children displaying "erotic posing" with no sexual interaction, over 90 of penetrative and non-penetrative interactions between children and adults and several showing genital mutilation.

Det Gda O'Connell said his team got another warrant to access the man's email addresses, where photos of the four-year-old were later found and analysed.

The man later attended a voluntary garda interview and admitted he had taken up to 20 pictures of the girl.

He described how she had moved her clothes out of the way on his request while he took the photos.

Det Gda O'Connell told Ms Lawlor that analysis of the photos showed they had been taken over a quarter of an hour with between five and ten minute interludes between each cluster.

The man also revealed that he had other images of child porn on a file on his computer named "snakes" so his girlfriend wouldn't find them.

The detective told the court that some of the images found on the computers and hard drives showed genital mutilation taking place and a few were of explicit cartoons.

The little girl's parents, in a victim impact statement read out in court, expressed how the man's "despicable and disgusting behaviour" would impact them as a family for the rest of their lives.

They said their daughter had a fear of unfamiliar males and "as a four-year-old girl she was stripped of her dignity and innocence".

They said the incidents had been imprinted on her mind and that she struggled socially and had night terrors.

They revealed they were grateful that their little girl had been able to speak up about the abuse.

Ms Lawlor confirmed to the court that there were no other allegations against the man from other parties. 

Det Gda O'Connell agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that her client's plea had spared the child having to be cross-examined in a trial.

He further agreed the pornography found and produced had been for the man's own use and that there was no evidence of paying for or distributing it.

The detective agreed the man had been engaging in therapy since his arrest and hoped to continue in custody after his sentence.

Ms Biggs submitted to Judge Melanie Greally that her client had had difficulty in school and with forming friendships growing up. 

She said the man had expressed remorse and showed some empathy for his actions.

She added that her client was a "vulnerable man" who had no friends since the incident and who needed structure in his life.

She asked the judge to take into consideration that the sexual assault would not have been at the highest end of the scale and the majority of the porn would have been categorised at the lowest end.

Judge Greally remanded the man in continuing custody pending sentence in March.