Facebook predator jailed for six years

A middle-aged man has been given a second prison sentence for the sexual exploitation of young teenage girls by using Facebook.

The 42-year-old entered a guilty plea minutes before his trial was due to take place at Longford Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

The judge jailed him for six years from yesterday.

He admitted a charge of sexually exploiting a 16-year-old girl in the summer of 2010 by inviting or inducing her to engage in a sexual or indecent act.

The separated father-of- four was jailed for nine years last year after being convicted of grooming a 14-year- old girl for sex.

And he is being sought by police in Scotland after being detected in a sting operation four years ago. He was identified by an undercover policewoman while making contact with teenage girls on internet chat rooms.

Prosecution counsel Des Dockery advised Judge Tony Hunt that while the charge did not attract the in-camera rule, if he was identified, it may lead to his most recent victim being identified.

The judge ruled that the perpetrator could not be named in media reports, nor could his address be published. But Judge Hunt said he would not prohibit the publication of his previous conviction at Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court.

A former IT technician, the midlands man had made contact with both of his Irish victims via Facebook, the court heard.

Garda Orla Geraghty told the court that the 16-year- old girl’s mother had called to a garda station to make complaint in October 2010. She said that her daughter had been propositioned to have sex with an older man.

The girl confirmed that she had been in contact with the man on Facebook.

He made reference to “one having fantasies of doing naughty things to a teenager”. He told her not to tell her parents because “they’d kill me”.

Later he asked her “what do you think?” When she queried what he meant, he had replied “about coming over to have sex with me”.

The girl subsequently changed her status and posted a message saying there are “some freaks out there”.

Gardaí got an arrest warrant and went to Castlerea Prison in June 2012 where the man was in custody awaiting sentence after pleading guilty at Roscommon Circuit Court to a similar charge.

Garda Geraghty said that the girl was now doing well and engaged in her studies. But she did not trust people in the same way.

Judge Hunt praised the girl’s good sense to change her Facebook status and alert her parents. Jailing the man for six years, the judge said: “It’s a sad lesson to be learnt... from social media”.


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