A father is due to be sentenced in Canada today for grooming and having sex with an underage Irish girl during two trips here in 2013, writes Cormac O'Keeffe.
The Canadian national, Jashua Robert Tremblay, 33, has pleaded guilty to three charges under Canadian child sex tourism legislation.
The prosecution is the result of a highly unusual joint Canadian-Irish police investigation. Under Canadian law, its citizens can be prosecuted for certain sexual offences committed against children abroad.
Tremblay’s victim was aged 13 when the online grooming began in late 2012 and 14 when the sexual activity occurred the following year. Tremblay pretended he was 16 when the contact started and later said he was 19. Before he travelled to Ireland, he told the girl his real age.
Tremblay visited the south-west of the country twice, in 2013.
Concerns were raised by locals in November 2013 after Tremblay and the girl were noticed at a rental accommodation.
By the time gardaí were informed, Tremblay had returned to Canada. A major investigation began.
Gardaí interviewed the girl and examined her electronic devices. Gardaí discovered Tremblay used his real name in the social media platforms. Explicit sexual images were shared, something Tremblay initiated. Gardaí conducted a forensic examination at the rental property.
They contacted Interpol who informed the Canadian authorities.
The Garda file was transmitted to Canada.
Tremblay pleaded guilty last December on three counts:
When contacted by the Irish Examiner, Supt Flor Murphy of Killarney Garda Station said: “The case highlights the very obvious dangers of the internet.
“In this incident, a 30-year-old father living thousands of miles away in a different continent, groomed a 13-year-old vulnerable schoolgirl online and then sexually exploited her during the course of two visits to Ireland in 2013.
“The case also highlights the extensive engagement and co-operation by An Garda Síochána with police forces throughout the world.
“International borders did not deter or hinder An Garda Síochána in bringing to justice an international sex predator who committed very serious offences in this jurisdiction on a young person.”