13-year-old girl was sexually exploited online by young man

A 25-year-old Dublin man will be sentenced next month for the online sexual exploitation of a teenager six years ago.

The accused man was 19-years-old when he met the 13-year-old girl and they later began communicating online via Skype, Facebook and texting on a regular basis.

The man exposed himself and masturbated during Skype sessions and invited the girl to masturbate or penetrate herself. During a meeting in person the accused man asked the girl to masturbate him and performed sexual acts on her.

The girl’s mother contacted gardaí after finding messages on her laptop.

The accused man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of defilement and three counts of sexual exploitation of the girl on dates between December 2011 and May 2012. He has no previous convictions.

The now 19-year-old woman, said in her victim impact statement she had been going through a tough time at the time of the offences and felt quite low in herself. She said after meeting the accused man he quickly became someone she confided in and said he made her feel special.

“I feel he used my vulnerability to his advantage to get what he wanted,” she said.

She said afterwards she was angry and upset at what had happened and just wanted to forget about it. She said people told her at the time that it was not her fault but she could not see it.

“It was something that happened to me, not something I made happen,” she said.

She described going through a “whirlwind of emotion” and becoming protective of younger people around her as well as distrustful of new people. She said seeing someone who looked like the accused man transported her back to the young girl she was at the time.

The woman said she had been in a bad place at the beginning of this process but now felt stronger and was hopeful her quality of life would continue to improve.

Sean Gillane SC, defending, said his client had not come to any further attention in the six years since the offences and lived a law abiding life style. He handed in testimonials and a reference.

He said the separation of his clients parents when he was young had resulted in considerable personal difficulties for him. In his early teens he began spending increasing amounts of time alone in his bedroom seeking engagement and escape through the online world.

He said this immaturity and self isolation was not addressed during his teenage years. The accused man had written a letter of apology to the victim in which he indicated he had hurt her in a way she should not have been hurt.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy adjourned sentencing in the case until March 5th.