Man sent girl, 14, sexual messages for two weeks

File image.

An extremely vulnerable 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a man following two weeks of sending her sexual messages and images by Facebook.

The accused man, Mark McGann (also known as Foley) of no fixed address faced sentencing yesterday. Detective Garda Rachel McGrath testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that McGann first met the 14-year-old and followed this up with contact through Facebook.

“She said he was 15, going on 16, but told him soon afterwards she was in fact 14. [He was 21],” said Det Garda McGrath.

“He sent two naked frontal images of himself to her and requested the same from her but she declined. This was sent to her through her Facebook account.

“He arranged to meet her. She was in her school uniform. They French-kissed on a laneway. He placed his hands on her breast and gave her love-bites on her neck and breast and tried to place his hand inside her underwear (but did not).

“A complaint was made and he was arrested and detained for questioning. He proceeded to make admissions,” the detective said.

Nothing can be reported that would identify the injured part in the case. Prosecution barrister, Imelda Kelly, described the victim as particularly vulnerable. The detective agreed.

The teenager was present in court yesterday for the sentencing hearing. She wrote a victim impact statement that was handed in to Judge Brian O’Callaghan but not read out in open court.

McGann, aged 21, wanted to apologise in court to the victim and he was sworn in for that purpose. “I would like to apologise for all that has happened. I am truly sorry for everything,” he said.

Defence barrister, John Devlin, suggested the defendant was co-operative and respectful when questioned. Det Garda McGrath agreed. Mr Devlin said the accused was quite a timid individual. The detective said that was the case when the defendant was sober.

Det Garda McGrath said that the messaging contact was intense over a short period with about 200 messages exchanged over a fortnight, many of the messages being of a sexual nature.

Judge O’Callaghan said the probation officer recommended a further report that would give a psychiatric and psychological assessment.

Judge O’Callaghan remanded McGann in custody until July 3 for that to be done. The judge said that Mr Devlin could present whatever mitigation the defence wished to put forward at that stage.

The sexual assault was carried out in May 2017. The Facebook messages— the second charge to which he pleaded guilty — were sent in the fortnight before the sexual assault.

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