No jail for teen who arranged sex with 12-year-old over Facebook

A teenager who had sex with a 12-year-old girl after they arranged it over Facebook has avoided detention.

The now-18-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, was aged 15 when he had intercourse with the girl in the bushes of a local football field.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to defilement of a girl under the age of 17 at a location in Dublin on December 31, 2011. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed three years' detention but suspended it in full on condition the man has no direct or indirect contact, including on social media, with the victim.

She said she can’t legislate on any chance encounters as both young people live in the same area.

Imposing the sentence, Judge Ring, told the court she had to have regard to the man’s age and guilty plea, which saved his victim coming to court to give evidence.

At the sentence hearing, Garda Elizabeth McConan said a relationship had “sprung up” between the two the previous autumn and that the parties knew each other before this.

She told Melanie Greally BL, prosecuting, that the pair began texting each other over Facebook and had one intimate encounter before the offence.

They arranged to meet for sex on New Year's Eve, 2011. Ms Greally said: “This followed 48 hours of fairly intense contact over Facebook. This was highly sexual in nature”.

She said the online contact included all sorts of expressions of love and affection as well as propositions of a sexual nature.

She agreed to sexual intercourse after some hesitation.

The pair met and after a short conversation he raised the issue of sex. She told him “in a minute, in a minute” and the accused became inpatient. She agreed to the act.

Afterwards she went home and showered and resumed her evening. She told a friend who told her own mother. This woman told the victim’s parents in late January.

The girl became distressed when asked about the incident and gardaí were notified the next day. The youth was arrested in February and later charged.

Patrick Gageby SC, defending, said his client is a vulnerable person with poor social skills and limited education.

He said that this was not a case of an older and wiser person entrapping a younger person because the victim was a million miles away from him in terms of intelligence.

The court heard that there was contact between the two in the days and weeks after the incident and he began calling her names such as “slut” and “whore”.

The youth told gardaí he believed she was aged 14 and that he stopped all contact with her when she realised she had been 12 years old.

He had repeatedly told her on Facebook that he was 14.

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