A man who sent sexually explicit text messages and images to at least 10 women has admitted harassment.
Jeff Cheyne, aged 58, originally from the Shetland Islands but living in Schull at the time, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to 10 sample counts of harassment of women on an indictment that contained 41 charges.
Garda Martin Bohane said” “Initially five women contacted gardaí about receiving texts and picture messages of a sexual nature. The messages were all from one number that they did not recognise. Following an investigation, no name was connected to the phone which was pay-as-you-go.”
Gda Bohane said that after the initial period of sexual texting, the offences died down for a while. Then more women came forward to complain that they had received similar messages of a sexual nature. He said that, after another lull, the messages started again and more women came forward with statements of complaint.
Garda Anthony Roche became involved in the investigation and saw Cheyne on CCTV at a shop getting credit for the phone in question.
Cheyne was living in Schull at the time. The address on the charge sheet was Loughtea, Ballina, Co Tipperary, and he has since moved to Co Clare, said his barrister, Ben Shorten.
Gda Bohane said there was a total of 10 complainants referable to this accused in a period from 2014 to 2016.
“These messages stopped once he was identified by gardaí,” said Gda Bohane. “Once the evidence was put to him he made full admissions. He is from the Shetland Islands.”
The accused moved to Donegal in 2000 and lived for a time in Dingle before moving to Schull. He had no previous convictions.
Siobhán Lankford, prosecution barrister, said the women were quite distressed by the content of the texts sent to them.
There was no evidence about how he got the numbers of the women he was texting or of the precise messages or images that were sent other than that they were of a sexual nature.
Mr Shorten said the accused was remorseful and apologetic to the women.
“He spoke about the sheer stupidity of his actions,” said Mr Shorten
The barrister said Cheyne’s partner was in court to support him.
Mr Shorten asked Judge Gerard O’Brien if he would consider a lengthy adjournment to allow the accused to undergo psychosexual counselling and take part in the Safer Lives programme. Judge O’Brien put sentencing back until October 25.
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