A Canadian man, who travelled to Ireland twice for sex with a 14-year-old Irish girl has received a 4.5 year prison sentence at a court in Edmonton, Canada, following a joint investigation by the Garda and Canadian police.
Joshua Robert Tremblay (34) pleaded guilty to two counts of child-luring, one count of sexual interference and two counts of breaching conditions.
He met the Kerry girl online in 2013 and communicated though a messaging app, the Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench was told on Tuesday.
The married man sent nude pictures of himself to the girl, and sought similar ones from her, along with explicit taped messages, the court was told.
“I’m serious, I want to have 100 kids,” he told her.
He travelled to Ireland to meet her. She told her father that she was going to spend a school holiday with a friend, but, instead, she stayed with him in hotels and a tent, where they had sex three times.
In a statement agreed between prosecution and defence, which was read to the court on Tuesday, it was stated that the girl was not forced to have sex, though she was below the legal age.
Later, he came again to Ireland where they spent 10 days at a holiday home on Valentia Island. Locals initially thought they were a father and daughter, but they became suspicious and told gardaí.
“They were shy about coming forward, but they had serious concerns and we started digging,” according to one garda involved in the investigation.
Through emails, and an examination of social media, Cahersiveen gardaí were able to identify the girl – even though only her first name was known to them.
“Her first name was on the booking form,” the investigating garda said. However, the pair were long gone from the house when gardaí were alerted.
Gardaí in Cahersiveen then got in touch with the Canadian child-protection agency in Alberta. “We didn’t know if perhaps he was involved in something like this in Alberta too,” the garda said.
The two police forces co-operated strongly. There is no standard extradition between the countries but the jurisdiction in Canada can try its citizens for sex crimes abroad. The investigation was painstaking and took a long time, another detective said.
When they had identified the girl, gardaí called to her home and took away her mobile and computers for examination.
The girl, who is described as being from “a highly respectable family” is from an urban area in Kerry, and would not have been known in south Kerry.
A Garda spokesman said: “This was an extensive investigation and it resulted in a successful prosecution. It highlights the international dimension of online grooming.”
The spokesman also said it was important to recognise the vigilance and trust of locals in coming forward to local officers in Cahersiveen.