A 42-year-old Dublin man has been jailed for five years for child pornography offences and for sexually exploiting a young boy.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexually assaulting a boy, sexual exploitation of a boy and producing child pornography between 2011 and 2013.
He further pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography for distribution within in the State on July 11, 2006 and to possessing child porn images, videos, texts and documents on computer media on December 9, 2013.
Passing sentence today, Judge Melanie Greally said gardaí found over 55,000 images, more than 6,000 videos and almost 4,500 text files containing child pornography on the man’s computer, external hard drive and mobile phone at his Dublin home.
The court heard that some 13,000 of the images depicted children, mostly pre-teenagers, engaged in sexual activity with adults.
Judge Greally said that 19 videos showed “child abuse at its most extreme,” because of the “unimaginable depravity” of the sexual acts being perpetrated on the children and the extremely young age of some of the victims.
The court heard that some of the children being abused in the videos and images were babies as young as five months old.
Judge Greally said:
In many cases, the child who’s being abused can be heard crying.
The court heard that after his arrest on child porn charges, the man admitted sexually assaulting two children, one of whom featured in some of the child pornography images seized by gardaí.
Judge Greally said the accused had developed a mutual friendship with the child’s mother as they both worked together and that he had “ingratiated himself” into the woman’s family.
She said the accused was a regular visitor to the woman’s home and “lavished attention and gifts” on her ten-year-old son before sexually assaulting him at the child’s grandmother’s birthday in a Dublin hotel.
The court heard the accused then continued to sexually assault the child over two years whenever he was left alone with the boy.
The boy’s mother became increasingly uneasy and eventually told the accused not to contact them again. She said her son no longer remembers being sexually abused but that she is afraid he will recall it later in life.
The woman is also disturbed about the naked photos that were taken of her son and as to what use they might be put.
The accused man has one previous conviction from 2006 for sexual assaulting a child, for which he received a suspended sentence.
Judge Greally said that “with the benefit of hindsight,” it was clear that giving the man a suspended sentence for his earlier offence was “not an effective punishment nor a deterrent”.
She set a headline sentence of seven and a half years for the sexual exploitation of a child, citing aggravating factors such as the fact that the man had groomed the child and abused him over a long period of two years.
She said it was a significant breach of trust, a premeditated act and had caused harm to the child and distress to his family.
However, Judge Greally gave the man credit for his guilty plea, his cooperation with gardaí, the isolated and unhappy circumstances of his childhood and the fact that he himself had been abused by an adult neighbour as a child.
She sentenced him to a total of five years in prison, backdated to the day of his arrest on May 8, 2018.