Teen who targetted gay man on Grindr avoids jail sentence

ireland
Teen Who Targetted Gay Man On Grindr Avoids Jail Sentence Teen Who Targetted Gay Man On Grindr Avoids Jail Sentence
A 16-year-old schoolboy, who set up a fake profile on dating app Grindr and lured a man into a violent trap, has been spared a custodial sentence
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Tom Tuite

A 16-year-old schoolboy, who set up a fake profile on dating app Grindr and lured a man into a violent trap, has been spared a custodial sentence.

The boy pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children’s Court to attempted robbery of the Brazilian national, who was in his mid-twenties, at a park in Dundrum, on June 28th last year.

He was sentenced to 12-months’ supervised probation when he appeared before Judge Brendan Toale today. He cannot be named because he is a minor.

In evidence, Detective Garda Paul Kane said the boy, who was aged 15 at the time, set up a profile through Grindr, a dating app for the LGBTQ community. “The accused used a false name and false age, and his own picture,” the detective said, adding that the boy pretended in his profile that he was aged 19.

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On June 28th last, he began an online text conversation with a Brazilian national during which they arranged to meet later that day. “The allegation was that a sexual interaction would take place,” he said.

Assault

That day at 6.50pm, the accused met the man in a park and after a brief conversation they went into woods 20 yards away. At that point the boy asked the man to empty his pockets.

Two other males, who have not yet been identified, approached and put the man in a headlock and punched him in the face.

The accused and his two accomplices ran after the man who “screamed for help”. He flagged down a car and gardaí were called. Detective Garda Kane said the man did not suffer any injuries and nothing was taken.

The boy, who had no prior criminal convictions, was identified and arrested just over two weeks later. He made admissions when interviewed.

A lengthy probation report stated that the boy was at a low risk of re-offending and a non-custodial sentence was recommended.

ADHD

The teen’s solicitor accepted the case was serious but pleaded with the judge to follow the recommendation. Mr Keenan said the boy had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and had developed a cannabis addiction.

At the time, there had been difficulties in the boy’s home life and the teen also had a lack of structure or routine due to Covid-19. A number of factors led him to engage in this behaviour, the solicitor submitted.

The boy, who was accompanied to the hearing by his mother, did not address the court. Mr Keenan said the teen regretted what he did and that he wished to apologise. He also admitted that he had “chosen negative ways to gain approval”, the court heard.

He has a supportive family, has remained in education, and has not come to further garda attention, the solicitor added.

Judge Toale described the offence as both very unusual and very serious, and he said it could have turned out a lot worse for the people involved.

He noted the defence submissions about the boy’s background. However, he remarked that the set-up crime was quite complex, required planning and must have had a serious effect on the victim, who did not have to attend the hearing. He did not wish to provide a victim impact statement.

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