Man 'caught on his way to have sex with teen boy at Irish hotel'
A man was intercepted by gardai on his way to a hotel to have sex with a boy last Monday, a court heard tonight.
The 29-year-old accused was arrested at 9am last Tuesday (May 10), and brought before Limerick District Court this Wednesday night.
He is charged with sexually exploiting a child, contrary to Section 3 of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act.
The offence is alleged to have happened on a date between January 3rd, 2015, and February 10th, this year.
During a lengthy bail application the man broke down and informed the court his family were not aware he had been arrested.
Garda Fiona O’Connell alleged, that within a week of befriending the boy on social media applications, Tinder and Snapchat, the man had sent the boy “provocative images and videos of himself masturbating”.
The witness alleged that following a garda forensic examination of the man’s phone, it was found to contain “disturbing videos involving another young male whose identify was unknown”.
Gda O’Connell said she believed this video had been downloaded from the Internet.
She further alleged gardai found 56 naked images “of the boy at the centre of this investigation”, on a second phone belonging to the accused.
Three phones belonging to the man, and a mobile phone belonging to the boy, are currently the subject of an ongoing forensic examination.
Gda O’Connell said it was her belief that the boy was “coerced into sending images of himself to the accused”.
She alleged the man had “booked a hotel room” for last Monday, May 9th, and also on February 13th this year, to meet the boy for sex, but these meetings did not take place.
Gda O’Connell alleged the man travelled to the county where the boy resides, last Monday, but he was “intercepted by gardai” at a checkpoint.
The garda garda traffic stop was put in place after gardai received a complaint from the boy’s mother, the court heard.
Gda O’Connell alleged the man, during interviews with gardai, “admitted booking hotel rooms”.
“He stated it was his intention to meet with the young person to have sex with him, had the young person agreed to meet him,” Gda O’Connell alleged.
Objecting to bail, Gda O’Connell said her “main concern” was that she believed the man would “interfere and continue to contact the injured party through social media”.
She said the boy was “extremely distressed” and had asked the man in January this year, to stop contacting him.
Gda O’Connell alleged that during a garda search of the man’s apartment on February 10th this year, “he told me he has an addiction to child pornography”.
The man gave evidence saying, “I don’t think I made an admission I was addicted...”
He gave a sworn oath he would not contact the injured party.
“I won’t, 100%... I’m not going to risk it getting any worse than it already is,” he told judge Marian O’Leary, presiding.
“This is an embarrassing situation,” he added.
The man also undertook to stay away from social media applications Tinder and Snapchat and have his mobile phone monitored by gardai.
Under questioning from Sgt Cronin, the man said: “I know what I did was wrong. I will have to get punished.”
Seeking bail, the man added: “I’ve cooperated fully so far...I’ve shown remorse...I will get treatment if needed.”
The court prohibited the media from reporting the identities of the parties involved, as well as locations heard in evidence.
Further charges are expected to be brought against the man at a later date, gardai told the court.
Judge O’Leary said she was “leaning” towards granting bail, however she reserved her position on the application, and remanded the accused in custody, to appear before the court again on Thursday morning.