A 24-year-old man got in contact with a 16-year-old girl through the dating website hotornot.com and following hundreds of texts she spent a night at his apartment and he was jailed today.
The man was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with the last 12 months suspended today for meeting the girl for sexual exploitation.
Mohamad Ayman Naji of 18 Castlegar, Chapel Lane, Mallow, pleaded guilty to a charge that on August 17/18, 2018, at his apartment he intentionally met a child having communicated by any means with her on at least one previous occasion and did so for the purpose of doing anything that would constitute sexual exploitation of a child.
Garda Patrick Sexton testified that the man and the 16-year-old exchanged phone numbers after initial contact on the website and there followed hundreds of texts in the next couple of weeks that were of both a sexual nature and a general conversational nature.
“The injured party outlined that she was 16 and was in school and this was acknowledged by the defendant.
“They came to a point where they could meet up and the defendant advised the injured party to delete all her messages just in case her mother would see her phone,” Garda Sexton said.
She spent a night in his apartment, the guard said.
Her parents were present in Cork Circuit Criminal Court for the case today but the injured party was not.
Defence barrister Donal O’Sullivan urged the judge to impose a fully suspended sentence.
He said the defendant was legally in Ireland, had advanced well educationally and was in good employment.
Mr O’Sullivan said the defendant had come from Syria five years ago and had no previous convictions of any kind.
“On that night together there was no penetrative activity, no oral sex, there was no sexual activity of that kind, clothes were not even fully removed,” Mr O’Sullivan BL said.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said it was entirely correct for the defence barrister to make a submission to have an entirely suspended sentence imposed.
However, he said that was not possible, not least in light of the aggravating factor that the defendant knew well that the girl was 16 but he persisted with inappropriate texting.
“I think a custodial sentence is merited. I accept he did extremely well, learned English, got a job and is otherwise well-adjusted in this society.
"That is to be admired but he did transgress in a significant way on this occasion,” the judge said.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said he had grave difficulty understanding the victim saying her voice was not heard.
He said the guard responded immediately and properly as soon as her complaint was made and that as well as the guard hearing her, the court was hearing her too.