Suspended sentence for young man who flew to Ireland to meet 13-year-old girl

By Isabel Hayes

by Gazette Reporter
0 comment
Dublin Circuit criminal court

A young man who was caught coming into the country to meet a 13-year-old girl with pornographic images and videos of her on his phone has been given a suspended sentence.

Alexander Ortauf (22) was 18 years old when he flew into Dublin Airport from the UK in February 2020 with the aim of meeting the child, whom he had met online, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Friday.

Detective Garda Paul O’Leary told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that Ortauf, who is originally from South Africa but has lived in Bristol for a number of years, was stopped by an immigration officer and asked about his purpose in visiting the country. He told them he was staying in a hotel in Dublin and meeting his 16-year-old girlfriend.

When told by the officer that the legal age of consent in Ireland is 17, Ortauf said he was staying in the hotel by himself. The immigration officer then called the girl from Ortauf’s phone and realised she was very young, leading to Ortauf being denied permission into the country and gardaí being alerted.

When interviewed by gardaí, Ortauf gave them his phone password and a number of images and videos of a sexual nature of the child were found. About twenty images and ten videos of a sexual nature were discovered.

Ortauf, with an address at Severn House, Henbry, Bristol, UK, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography on February 17, 2020 and one count of using information and communication technology to facilitate the sexual exploitation of a child. He has no previous convictions.

Ciaran O’Loughlin SC, defending, said Ortauf befriended the girl online and that he provided emotional support to her as she was going through a difficult period. Det Gda O’Leary agreed that at one stage, the girl told Ortauf that she was 16. However, he said that it was apparent from the photos and videos she sent that she was only 13.

The court heard the pair exchanged messages and photos of a sexual nature, but it was mostly the girl sending them to Ortauf. He told gardaí that he was coming to Dublin to meet the girl to break up with her, as she was too young. He said he wanted to do it in person as he didn’t want her to harm herself.

The court heard Ortauf had a traumatic childhood in South Africa and has lived in the UK with his mother since he was 12. His UK visa is due to expire in November this year. He has suffered from depression since a young age and has ADHD.

Mr O’Loughlin noted his client has had the matter hanging over him for four years now and has kept all his bail conditions. He said he has been unable to contact his sister in New Zealand throughout this time as a result of technological restrictions placed on him. He urged Judge Nolan to be as lenient as possible.

Sentencing Ortauf, Judge Martin Nolan said he could not be absolutely certain what Ortauf knew in relation to the child’s age. He said that if Ortauf had been older at the time, a custodial sentence would be inevitable. However, taking his youth and lack of previous convictions into account, he handed down a sentence of two and a half years, which he suspended in full.

“I hope he will have learned his lesson,” the judge said.

Related Articles