A member of the Jehovah’s Witness church who sexually exploited a 13-year-old girl has been jailed for 18 months.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was aged 29 when he met the girl through their mutual association with a local Jehovah’s Witness congregation.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that over a period of time in 2016 he and the girl exchanged messages on Viber, including semi-naked, sexually explicit images of the child.
Garda Patrick Rowan said the man and girl referred to each other as ‘darling’ in text exchanges. He later sent her topless images of himself and a naked photo of himself. In turn she sent him images of her topless and of her bum.
The man, now aged 34 and with an address in Dublin, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child on dates in late 2016. He also admitted possession of sexually explicit images of the child, contrary to the Child Pornography and Trafficking Act, 1998.
He told gardaí that they only met once and this was in a public place and that they only kissed and hugged on this occasion. He said “I know I did wrong, I never meant to hurt anyone”.
Judge Karen O’Connor noted the absence of any other convictions and the value of the guilty pleas.
She suspended the final year of a two and a half year prison term on condition that he be of good behaviour for the entire term and engage with a sex offender treatment programme.
She also ordered that he have no unsupervised access to children.