RTÉ employee due in court accused of planning sex with girl (13)

Vigilante group confronts Irish man man on street in Leeds and releases video on Facebook

The RTÉ campus in Donnybrook. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The RTÉ campus in Donnybrook. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

An RTÉ employee is due in court in the Leeds on Monday to face charges in connection an alleged attempt to travel to the UK to engage in sexual activity with someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

The man, who is in his 50s, is a member of the broadcaster’s journalistic team and was charged by police in Leeds on Sunday. He is due to appear in court this morning.

RTÉ issued a brief statement on the allegations on Sunday. “RTÉ has been made aware of this matter,” it said.

“[The matter] is being dealt with by the Leeds Police Force in the United Kingdom. We have no further comment at this time.”

The man at the centre of the allegations is not well-known to the public.

It is alleged that through social media he made contact with a person purporting to be a 13-year-old girl.

However, the Facebook account was created by a vigilante group that seeks to expose adults trying to contact children for sexual purposes.

An online video purported to show the moment the Irish man was confronted on the street in Leeds over the weekend. In an extended clip, he was interviewed by those who confronted him.

They put his travel arrangements to him, where he was staying and his plans to spend time with the person posing as a 13-year-old girl he was in contact with on Facebook.

Members of the group, who confronted him on the street, apparently on Saturday night in Leeds, take the Irishman’s phone and call the police. Police were then called to the scene.

Denial

While being spoken to by members of the vigilante group before the police arrived, the man denied he had any plans to engage in sexual activity with a child.

He insisted he had no criminal record and had come to meet a child because he has none of his own. He strongly denied he had any plans to engage in sexual activity with a child or to even share a hotel room with anyone.

It was put to him that he has been in contact since August with the person he allegedly believed was a 13-year-old girl and that some of his messages to her were sexually explicit.

Those who questioned the Irishman suggested to him that he had planned to come to meet the person he thought was a 13-year-old girl on an earlier date but was unwell and could not travel.

The video of the confrontation was streamed live on Facebook. By late last night it had been viewed almost 300,000 times.

The video continued until the police arrive at the scene.