Ex-HSE paramedic jailed over sex abuse of boys after social media contact

Judge says effects of such abuse could be lifelong

A man has been jailed for 5½ years for sexually assaulting three young boys in separate incidents, after he used false identities to contact each victim by text message or on Facebook

A man has been jailed for 5½ years for sexually assaulting three young boys in separate incidents, after he used false identities to contact each victim by text message or on Facebook

Wed, May 7, 2014, 01:05

A former HSE paramedic has been jailed for 5½ years for sexually assaulting three young boys in separate incidents, after he used false identities to contact each victim by text message or on Facebook.

Alan Coughlan (42), Elm Mount Park, Beaumont, Dublin, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and four counts of defilement of children under the age of 17 between 2009 and 2011. He admitted possessing 29 images of child pornography in a scrapbook at his home on November 24th, 2011.

Coughlan’s sentence hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that 18 of those images were considered to be in the most serious category of child pornography. Judge Mary Ellen Ring said the charges were very serious and that Coughlan had sought out three children by using social media and other contacts to build up trust. He had used false names, ages and images to suggest he was a teenager and had abused the children at a “particularly vulnerable” stage of their development. Judge Ring noted that the effects of such abuse could be lifelong.

Gardaí were alerted to the offences after Coughlan sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy in the back of his car in a shopping centre car park on November 20th, 2011. The victim’s friends saw him getting into the vehicle and contacted the Garda, who later arrested him and searched his home. Mobile phones were seized, which led to Coughlan’s earlier victims.