Gardaí investigating threats on Facebook in child sexual abuse case, court told

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Gardaí are investigating threats which were made over Facebook to one victim in a child sexual abuse case.

Last March, a jury convicted a 38-year-old UK businessman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, of three counts of rape and eight counts of sexually assaulting two girls at addresses in Dublin and Louth between December 3, 2010 and March 10, 2011 when they were aged 10 and 12 years old.

The man had groomed the children while in the UK and would regularly sexually assault and rape both girls in bed at night.

When UK social services began to investigate the children's welfare, the man took the children to Ireland. In December 2010, the man and the older girl travelled to Dublin and got caught up in the snowy weather at the time.

They ended up staying the night in a hotel and the man sexually assaulted and raped the girl in the room that night.

At the Central Criminal Court sentence hearing in July, Mr Justice Michael White noted that the man still maintains his innocence and disputes the verdicts.

Today, Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, told the judge that the man allegedly set up false Facebook accounts claiming his innocence.

She said it was also alleged that he threatened one complainant via Facebook accounts created on dates last April.

She said the matters are being investigated by gardaí and that the US and UK authorities are assisting gardaí with their investigations. She told the court that it is being taken very seriously by gardaí and the DPP.

She said there were three separate incidents of threats made and that Facebook has been requested to take down the offending material.

She said that whoever set up the Facebook accounts and made the threats had gone to considerable lengths to anonymise them and that gardaí are carrying out a “painstaking” investigation.

Mr Justice White adjourned the matter to April 12 next.

Last July, the judge imposed a 14-year custodial sentence. He suspended the final two years on condition that the man participate in the “Better Lives” treatment programme for sex offenders.

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