A father-of-two who was caught with child pornography, including cartoon images, has been sentenced to two years with 12 months suspended
Gerard Sheridan (aged 46), who received a two-year suspended sentence in 2005 for a similar offence, told gardaí he “goes into the porno world where it becomes an escape”.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the case was unusual as 24 of the 27 images were virtual images – no actual children were used to create the images. They were a form of Japanese animation know as “hentai”.
Sheridan told gardaí he “wants to be able to have a normal sexual relationship” with his wife “but I feel like a child physically and sexually.”
Sheridan of Meadow Drive, Hartstown in Clonsilla pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography at his home on October 18, 2009.
Judge Petria McDonnell said she had to impose a jail sentence because of Sheridan’s previous child pornography conviction. She accepted the offence was “on the lower end of the scale” but added that such offences “cannot be underestimated.”
The judge also noted Sheridan’s probation report showed he has a lack of victim empathy. She recommended that Sheridan is sent to Arbour Hill Prison to undergo a sex offender’s treatment regime. She further ordered that he engage with the “Safer Lives” treatment programme on his release from prison.
Detective Garda Patrick Traynor told prosecuting counsel James Dwyer BL that an investigation led to a search of Sheridan’s home. A laptop, DVDs, a floppy disc and an Eircom phone bill were seized.
A total of 27 images were extracted from the laptop, 24 of which were 3D cartoon computer generated images of child-adult sexual activity, while three other images showed young girls engaged in sexual activity with adult males.
Sheridan told to gardaí he “can’t help feeling” the way he does and “feels like one of the children having sex with an adult”.
Defence counsel Philipp Rahn BL said Sheridan doesn’t deny the images were on his computer and there is no suggestion he is involved in the distribution of the child pornography or that he paid for it.
“By its very nature the offence is appalling and he doesn’t seek to shy away from it,” counsel added.
“Because of his diagnosed psychosexual disorder, he is keen to receive treatment but as he is unemployed he cannot afford to pay for treatment,” said Mr Rahn.