A teenager who blackmailed his younger cousin in order to continue his sexual exploitation of her has received a three-year suspended sentence.
The boy, now aged 18, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the sexual exploitation of two of his cousins and the anal rape of one of them on dates in 2015 and 2016. He cannot be identified to protect the identity of the victims.
At a hearing in July 2019 Mr Justice Michael White said the case was particularly difficult and he had some serious difficulty in coming to the decision not to impose an immediate custodial sentence.
“I consider your behaviour disgraceful,” Mr Justice White told the boy. “I am shocked at it and remained shocked.” He said he did not understand how the boy could blackmail his cousin “in such a horrible way”.
At that time Mr Justice White said the appropriate period of detention was a term of five years, which he deferred for one year, during which time the boy was to remain under the supervision of the Probation Service.
He said that at the next hearing the court will have the option to impose the sentence in full, in part or suspend it in its entirety.
Mr Justice White today acknowledged that a report from the Probation Service and a report from an agency where the boy is attending for therapy, were both very positive.
“He has made very good progress and has acknowledged the seriousness of the offences. He has carried out a lot of work in relation to his sexually harmful behaviour and has engaged with the Probation Service,” Mr Justice White said.
He sentenced the teenager to three years detention which he suspended in full on condition that he complete the programme of therapy he is currently undertaking. The judge said the court must be provided with evidence of the completion of the course.
At a sentence hearing last year, Mr Justice White said he was concerned about the number of cases of young children committing serious offences as a result of exposure to pornography on smartphones.
He ordered that this boy's smartphone be monitored but said he was not going to outright ban its use as that would be impractical.
The court heard the boy had access to porn from a very young age and that he became obsessed with sex.
He and his cousin, who is just over a year younger than him, began to engage in non-penetrative sexual contact when she was aged around nine and 10, the court heard.
This behaviour continued from 2011 up to 2016. Shane Costello SC, prosecuting, told the court there was no suggestion of any force or coercion used in this behaviour.
In relation to this behaviour the boy pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child on dates in 2015 at a place in Galway.
The court heard in early 2016 the girl told the defendant she wanted the sexual contact to stop. He sent her text messages saying he had pictures and video recordings of their previous sexual contact.
He told her he would disseminate these to her friends and others online if she didn't continue to have sex with him. After the offending came to light the girl told gardaí that she did have sex with him again because she was afraid of this threat.
After his arrest the boy told gardaí he had blackmailed her. He later pleaded guilty to anal rape of the girl in her bedroom on dates in January 2016.
The boy told gardaí that he had anal penetrative sex with a male cousin, who is four months younger than him, up to ten times and that these were consensual.
The court heard that there was no coercion and that “at all times [the male cousin] was a consenting participant in so far as any child could consent”.
He pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child by inviting the child to take part in sexual activity on dates in 2015. Neither of the complainants completed a victim impact statement.