Man jailed for three years for uploading child porn

Fergus Galvin was on sex offenders register for previous offences

Gardaí were alerted by the National Child Exploitation Crime Centre in Canada.

Gardaí were alerted by the National Child Exploitation Crime Centre in Canada.

 

A 64-year-old man has been jailed for three years after he admitted both possessing and distributing child pornography after he uploaded images on to a social media website.

Fergus Galvin pleaded guilty to possessing 290 files consisting of child pornographic images and movie clips at his home at Charleston Wharf, Bailick Road, Midleton, Co Cork on October 24th, 2015.

Galvin also pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to a second charge of knowingly distributing child pornography between August 27th and August 30th, 2015.

Det Sgt Sean Leahy told the court gardaí were alerted by the National Child Exploitation Crime Centre in Canada who informed them they had come across images uploaded to the Tumblr social media website for sharing.

They had traced the IP address of the person who had uploaded the images and they sent the address fergusgalvin_at_gmail.com to gardaí who already knew Galvin as he was on a Sex Offenders Register for previous offences.

Det Sgt Leahy said it was inevitable the accused would be caught given he had used his own name in the email and was actually expecting a knock on the door from gardaí when they arrived to search his apartment.

Galvin co-operated fully and immediately admitted both possessing and distributing the images including some 256 rated as Category 1 images - the most serious form of child pornography.

Det Sgt Leahy said Galvin also had 34 video or film clips of which 27 were deemed to be Category 1 and seven were Category 2 film clips.

These Category 2 images were secretly recorded of children showering while attending public swimming pools but there was nothing to suggest that Galvin had recorded the clips, said Det Sgt Leahy.

He confirmed Galvin had a number of convictions from the early 2000s for sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, production of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

He had been given a nine year jail term for the offences but this had been reduced on appeal to six years and he had been released in 2006 when he was placed on a Sex Offenders Register which was checked by gardaí.

Det Sgt Leahy told defence barrister Sinead Behan BL that gardaí were satisfied Galvin was not responsible for producing the images that he had uploaded and distributed on the internet.

Ms Behan said Galvin was addicted to pornography, both adult and child, and that his marriage had collapsed as a result of his previous offending and he had been living a life of social isolation ever since.

Ms Behan said he had joined a music group in Cork city following his release from prison following the early offences but when the group learned of his offending they asked him to leave so he moved to Midleton.

She said he thought that he was managing okay so he bought himself a lap top but found himself accessing pornography again, both adult and child, and fell back into his old ways, she said.

Ms Behan said her client had accessed and uploaded child pornography in a very open fashion with no level of sophistication using his own email and it was almost as if he wanted to come to garda attention.

She said Galvin had been abused himself by a teacher when he was aged 10-12 and his parents had subsequently took him out of the school and his abuser, who was now deceased. had been the subject of a garda inquiry.

She said he had not put himself in any position where he would have any contact with children and he had been attending a psychiatrist who treats sex abusers, who assessed him as being at a moderate risk of re-offending.

“It has been a horrible four years for him. He has no social contact, he has nobody, he is on his own...there has been a real suicide risk...It is a lonely place for a man who has difficulties in this regard.

“He has lost his family, he has lost his job, he has lost his social life. It is pretty bleak. It does appear that his childhood history of sexual abuse has not been dealt with,” she said, adding that he was deeply remorseful for his actions.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan noted a report from the psychiatrist which noted that he did not derive any sexual satisfaction from viewing child pornography and did not explain why he switched from viewing adult pornography.

“He has pleaded guilty to two most serious offences. The court has to take account of what is said on his behalf and in the reports. This is not a victimless crime. There are children being abused for the gratification of others.

“Just because they are from faraway places, we must regard them as we would if they were passing us on Patrick Street. The harm caused by this kind of offence is grave and high,” he said.

Judge O’Callaghan said if people like Galvin did not exist then child pornography images and movies would not be made though he was still unclear as to why he moved from adult pornography to child pornography.

“It appears as though there is no explanation for his actions when it comes to moving from adult to child pornography...After his first conviction, efforts were made to stop him viewing such material but those efforts failed.

“The court is perplexed by the openness of his offending. Let’s be blunt about it, he made things easy for An Garda Síochána. He does this in an open, easy to track, manner,” said Judge O’Callaghan.

However, they were serious offences and he imposed a six year term for distributing child pornography but suspended three years and he sentenced him to two years concurrent on the possession charge.

“It is regrettable that he has suffered. He has lost his family. He has become isolated. He seems to have an addiction he can’t refrain from accessing. I wish you the best, Mr Galvin, and I hope you can solve your problems.”