Dublin man who was 16 when sexually assaulting girl (12) is jailed

Judge struck by ‘cruelty’ of offences and their circumstances and imposes four-year term

The Central Criminal Court previously heard evidence that the defendant knew the girl and they were chatting on Facebook. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The Central Criminal Court previously heard evidence that the defendant knew the girl and they were chatting on Facebook. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

A man who was 16 when he told a young girl he would circulate photographs of her in a sexual act if she didn’t “give a blowjob” to another boy has been jailed for four years.

The defendant, now aged 20, had previously forced the child to perform oral sex on him while other youths recorded the act on their mobile phones.

The man pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child at a place in Dublin on August 21st and August 25th, 2015.

Passing sentence on Thursday, Mr Justice Michael White said he was struck by the “cruelty” of the offences and their circumstances. He said he was concerned by the man minimising the offences while engaging with the Probation Service.

Mr Justice White said the case was aggravated by the seriousness of the offence, the victim being a 12-year-old at the time and the impact the offences have had on her. He said in absence of mitigation he would have considered a sentence of eight years imprisonment.

He said the mitigating factors in the case were the man’s early guilty plea, lack of previous convictions at the time of the offences and the fact that he was still a minor when committing the offences.

The judge sentenced the man to four years imprisonment. He also ordered that the perpetrator would be subject to two years post-release supervision during which he would follow all directions of the Probation Service.

Social media

The Central Criminal Court previously heard evidence that the defendant knew the girl and they were chatting on Facebook. They met up in a public park and he brought the girl over to a ditch and made her kneel down on the ground.

He manipulated her head and made her perform oral sex on him. She later told gardaí that she felt really dirty.

The court heard that a “group of young fellas” were standing nearby and took pictures of the incident and showed her these. The victim was able to see her face and the sexual act and felt horrible and worried “she would get a name”.

She met the defendant again four days later and he again forced her to perform oral sex on him before telling her that she had to “give a blowjob” to a younger boy or else he would show the pictures of the earlier incident to others.

The judge was told by defending counsel that the man believed the victim was 14 at the time and didn’t realise what he was doing was illegal.

Seamus Clarke SC, defending, said that the victim appeared to have wanted to “go out” with his client and that he was “less than gentlemanly” in his response to her.

In a letter to the court the defendant said he wished to apologise to the victim and said he and the other boy were “teenagers with little sense” at the time.

The court heard that since the attacks the victim has had suicidal thoughts and has self-harmed by cutting herself. She was hospitalised from an overdose of tablets and said that members of the boy’s family threatened her.

Last August the younger boy was sentenced and ordered to complete 180 hours of community service. His lawyers told the judge that he was in fear of the older boy, while the victim told gardaí she felt she had to do it.

Adverse postings

Róisín Lacey SC, defending, told the court that the older boy had asked her client “are you going to be gay?”, meaning “was he afraid?” Her client believed there would be adverse postings about him on social media, she said.

She said the incident was a once-off act stage managed by the older boy.

Ms Lacey said a Probation Service report noted he had little understanding of the concept of consent and did not realise the victim and he himself were too young to consent.

She said he bitterly regretted his actions and was offering an unreserved apology to the victim.

Neither of the defendants can be named in order to protect the identity of the victim.