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'coward' Man who sexually assaulted boy at hurling pitch and 'every opportunity he could get' sentenced

Kevin Ryan, already jailed for sexually assaulting a boy, sent explicit images to three boys over Snapchat

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Photo: Stock image

Photo: Stock image

Photo: Stock image

A man sexually assaulted a boy "at every occasion he could get", including at a hurling pitch and while the two were renovating a vintage tractor, a court in Waterford has heard.

Kevin Ryan, aged 40, who is originally from Templederry, Co Tipperary, was sentenced today for 26 months for three counts of sexual exploitation after he sent explicit images to three boys over the social media channel Snapchat.

In their victim impact statements, the boys described feelings of anger, frustration and paranoia following the crimes, and said that their attacker is a "coward" with a "warped mind".

He is already in prison for sexually assaulting one of the boys and sending photos to him and three other children in Co Carlow, having befriended the boys through the local hurling club.

Ryan had added them on Snapchat where he sent them a photo of his erect penis, which lead to gardaí investigating after two of the boys told their parents in July 2017.

Following this, two more boys came forward to say they had also received the explicit images. Three of the boys were in their early teens at the time of the offence.

The other boy, then aged 11, then disclosed to gardaí that he had been sexually assaulted.

The investigating Garda told the Circuit Criminal Court that Ryan had performed oral sex on the boy on "any occasion or opportunity he could get", including at the hurling club when they were alone, and at his home when his wife wasn't present.

He also assaulted the boy while they were renovating a vintage tractor the man owned, the Garda said.

The court heard that without one boy "having the wherewithal" to take a screenshot of the Snapchat photo, the investigation would have struggled to bring the man to justice, as the app deletes photos seconds after a message is opened. A Garda search had also missed the man's phone, which was hidden, and later destroyed by the man.

There was a hung jury in relation to the earlier six offences of assault and exploitation, which he was subsequently found guilty of in a second trial and sentenced last September.

In his victim impact statement, the youngest boy said he feels "anger and frustration almost every day" and finds it hard "to get the whole experience out of my head."

"At 15 years old I was questioned for five hours by a barrister who was able to use his skills to make it seem that I was making up a story. This was all because Kevin Ryan made a decision to put me and others through three-and-a-half years of waiting and wondering."

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He said this was "torture" and happened "because Kevin Ryan is a coward who won't own up to his own actions".

"Kevin was being friendly with me, but only for his own sick pleasure," he said.

The boy added that he finds it hard to trust adults now and wonders if something similar will happen again: "Being paranoid is what you call it. I'm going to a psychologist now to try and work it all out of my head."

"I find it hard to concentrate, I go over things constantly in my head, trying to find what I did wrong and finding reasons to blame myself, even though everybody tells me I did nothing wrong."

Another boy said it had damaged his relationship with his family and friends and struggled to sleep for a long time afterwards.

One boy said that he stopped eating and sleeping that summer the news emerged, and found the entire experience in his embarrassing, and also felt paranoid that others in his community were laughing at him.

"It took a long time for it to go away and get my happiness back," he said, "Only for sport and hurling I would not have come back sooner."

The defence said Mr Ryan has psychiatric problems, and previously spent time as an inpatient at a psychiatric hospital. He had disclosed to the investigating Garda that he was sexually abused as a child.

Judge O'Kelly sentenced him to 26 months for sending the photos to the youngest boy, and 20 months for the two other boys. It was backdated to July 16, 2021.

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