NewsInvestigations

Video: We find dangerous US paedo on the streets of Dublin

Gerard Gilligan
Gerard Gilligan

This is the former high-powered US lawyer who is living in a downmarket hostel since he was released from prison after serving a sentence for possessing child pornography images.

The 65-year-old refused to talk to the Sunday World when he was approached in Dublin city centre earlier this week, saying: “I don’t want to be news.”

Gerard Gilligan was once a top lawyer in the States, but now he dosses down for the night in a north inner-city hostel and spends his days on the streets.

It is an extraordinary fall for a qualified attorney who is deemed at high risk of re-offending and who is now listed on the sex offenders register.

The Sunday world was watching this week as he emerged on to the streets of Dublin and sunned himself while enjoying a cigarette near a hostel where he was staying.

When we approached him he refused to talk, saying he didn’t want to conduct an interview and he didn’t want to be “newsworthy”.

Despite it being pointed out to Gilligan that he had made himself newsworthy when he downloaded pictures of babies and children being sexually abused, he refused to engage with our reporter.

 

Gilligan is in poor health and has become overweight since his stint in an Irish jail, but he refused to comment on his plans for the future.

He was nabbed in 2009 in Sligo with almost 650 vile images of children involved in sexual acts, including pictures of babies being abused.

As Gardaí investigated the material, Gilligan slipped back into the US, where he was arrested a number of times for violating parole conditions from a previous conviction for the sexual assault of a child.

He eventually returned voluntarily to Ireland, where he was sentenced to two years and nine months in jail in October 2015.

Gilligan was released shortly before Christmas and initially remained in Sligo, where he was moved between hotels and local hostels.

However, despite his efforts, he could not find a home in the county and in recent weeks has moved to Dublin, where he has been staying at a city centre hostel used by homeless people.

The father of four, who was married twice, admitted during his sentence hearing on the child porn charges that he could not control his urges and that he needed treatment.

The court also heard that he had received considerable treatment in America.

Judge Keenan Johnson at Sligo Circuit Court said that Gilligan had downloaded the images from a site that had been accessed in 170 different countries and from 140,000 IP addresses.

The investigation was sparked following an Interpol probe in Croatia and traced the purchases of the photos to a flat that Gilligan was living in at the time, at Union Place in Sligo.

Judge Johnson said it was “absolutely frightening” that there was “such a proliferation of this material”, adding: “Steps should be taken to make this stuff much more difficult to access.”

The judge said without the demand for child porn there wouldn’t be an incentive to produce the images, which included children under 12.

At the time of his arrest Gilligan was already on the Irish sex offenders register due to an earlier conviction in the US. There he had been convicted of aggravated sexual assault in 2000 and given a three-year sentence.

He had pleaded guilty to the assault of a child, but at the time was already on probation for an offence relating to lewdness in the presence of children.

On his release he broke his parole by not informing officers of his address and moved over and back to Ireland, where he claimed to have relatives.