Man used Facebook to exploit teen boys sexually

A man who posed as a teenage girl on Facebook in order to sexually exploit boys will be sentenced in December.

The 21-year old, who was 19 at the time, convinced three boys aged between 13 and 14, to send him sexually explicit pictures of themselves and to masturbate via an online video link.

He later told gardaí he didn’t think there was anything wrong with what he was doing and that he did it to explore his sexuality.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said she would deal with the issue of publishing the man’s identity when she has finalised her sentence.

Yesterday, Judge Ring adjourned the case to December in order for a probation services report to be completed. Padraig Dwyer, defending, said he believed the report will be a positive one and his client is remorseful.

Judge Ring remanded the man in continuing custody until that date.

The Dublin man pleaded guilty to three charges of exploitation of a child and two counts of defilement of a child at locations in Dublin on dates between April and October 2012.

He has also pleaded guilty to engaging in a sexual act with a child on dates between June 6, 2009, and September 30, 2009. Evidence will be heard in relation to this offence in December.

Mr Dwyer said his client is a young man with a full-time job who has no previous convictions and who has not offended since.

Judge Ring previously said at the sentence hearing last June that details of fake social networking accounts used by him should not be published.

Two accounts were set up as those of a 14-year-old girl and a 14-year-old bisexual boy. They used actual images of children randomly sourced through a Google images search.

Detective Garda David Nolan told Fiona Murphy, prosecuting, that in March 2012, the man set up the two false Facebook profiles and sent out random friend requests to males aged around 13 and 14.

Judge Ring described this as a “fishing expedition”.

Around 350 people accepted the friend requests sent from the two fake accounts. The offender then began sending them private messages which began normally but would become more sexual.

In one case, he convinced a 14-year-old boy, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, to talk about his underwear and to later masturbate on a web-cam. The victim believed he was communicating with a 14-year-old girl.

Posing as a bisexual teenage boy, the man also began exchanging sexually explicit messages with a 14-year-old boy. When this victim suggested that he would be willing to sexually engage with a 20-year-old, the man contacted the victim using his real identity.

The man told the teenager he was aged 17 and they met twice and engaged in sexual acts. The man later told gardaí he thought this was ok because they both met of their own free will.

The offences came to light when the mother of the first victim checked her son’s iPad and his Facebook messages and saw the sexually explicit conversations with the fake girl.


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