A member of An Garda Síochána who made contact with a 16-year-old boy in HSE care through a gay dating website and arranged for two sexual encounters in the carpark of a graveyard was jailed yesterday.
Damien Jermyn, 30, of 4 Main St, Bantry, Co Cork, was first suspended and he then resigned as a member of An Garda Síochána.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a two-year jail sentence with the second year suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.
Jermyn went on to the Gaydar website under the name Kerry Dude where he met the injured party who called himself ‘Sexy Cork Boy’.
In two encounters with the 16-year-old the defendant had oral sex performed by the teenager in his car parked at a graveyard.
Jermyn, who turned 30 yesterday, pleaded guilty to two charges of defiling the boy in February and Mar 2011.
Tom Creed senior counsel said there was no question of force being used in the sexual encounters which he said were consensual.
He accepted that in legal terms it could not be said that there was consent because the injured party was under the age of 17.
Mr Creed said that if the teenager had been six months older, no law would have been broken by the same activities.
A relative of the teenager alerted gardaí to the encounters that had taken place.
There was no evidence of victim impact or of the teenager making a complaint to gardaí.
The judge said: “You were an adult male who knowingly had a sexual relationship with a child, that is a very significant breach of trust.
“On top of that the circumstances impelling me to impose a custodial sentence are that you knew this boy was in care.
“I hesitate to say anything about the HSE but you knew you were in a responsible position, you knew this boy was in care and you took part in this relationship.”
Nick Harding of the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission said the parties — who were 27 and 16 at the time — met through the gay website and that over the next few weeks there were 347 texts from Jermyn and 343 texts from the teenager.
The texts were described as creating and encouraging the opportunities for the physical encounters.
On both occasions the defendant bought WKD alcohol and drove to meet the injured party before going to the graveyard carpark where the sexual encounters occurred.
Mr Creed SC said that the defendant thought the teenager was 18 on the first occasion but knew by the time of the second one that he was 16 and in the care of the HSE.
Mr Creed produced testimonial evidence of the defendant’s positive participation in the community previous to this case to the point where a former supervisor described him as a role model for young gardaí.
The two charges to which he pleaded guilty were of defilement of a child under the age of 17 contrary to Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006.
Jermyn’s name will now go on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
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