A 16-year-old schoolgirl turned her phone on when she woke to get ready for school and discovered that 60 messages of a sexually explicit nature and a photograph had been sent to her by her mother’s 36-year-old partner.
Detective Garda Donal O’Connell gave this evidence at the sentencing hearing for the 36-year-old at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The accused man pleaded guilty to sending sexually explicit messages by phone to the teenager and also sending her a photograph.
Det. Garda O’Connell said: “The accused was in a relationship with her mother at the time.
“On September 20 2019 she woke to go to school and found the 60 text messages. They had been received from her mother’s partner at the time. They were extremely sexually explicit. One contained a picture of his erect penis.
“In one message he said, ‘I will get you all the drugs you want’ and he said, ‘Keep it between us.’”
The texts were all sent over a period of a few hours in the early hours of the morning but the teenager had her phone turned off so she got them all together – without any replies from her – as soon as she switched her phone on.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said there was a level of maturity and insight from the victim that one would not always see in many people twice her age.
In her victim statement – read to the court by Det Garda O’Connell – she said, “I found it hard when it was suggested that the fact that he was under the influence of drugs explained it. I think he himself believes this was the reason for his behaviour. But I believe this is in someone or it isn’t.
“It was as if this was undermining what he had done. Although I could tell from the messages that he had been under the influence when he wrote them, for me I was still thinking that this is not normal behaviour and there is no excuse.
“I was already struggling with depression so I am not claiming that the incident caused my depression but it didn’t help me with moving on and recovering from it.
“Some of my friends would have got to know (defendant’s name) also and after the incident it was too embarrassing for me to explain why he and my mam were no longer together. I felt that they might blame me for putting them around someone like him. Even though I had done nothing wrong I felt guilty.
“It was very hard to stop thinking about the fact that before the incident I had liked and got on with (name). He was someone I was starting to trust. Sometimes we would stay in his house and my mam would go to work and we would be alone in the house.
Commenting on her insight, the judge said, “Your man blamed drink and drugs – she said that is a cop-out.”
Judge Ó Donnabháin said to defence barrister Emmet Boyle that the accused needed to work at addressing his issues in regard to this type of offending. “If he wants to avoid jail he is going to have to work and sweat at this. He is at risk of prison,” he said.
The judge adjourned the case until October 27 to see what services the probation service could offer to the accused.
The reason the defendant is not identified in this report is that it would lead to identification of the injured party.