A 45-year-old man from Monkstown in Cork who was tracked down by “a vigilante paedophile-hunting group” has embarked on a 26-week programme aimed at men engaged in illegal sexual activities.
Tim Bowen believed on the day in question he was about to meet a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation and his case was listed for sentencing today.
Defence barrister Sinéad Behan said today, “This was adjourned for a probation and a report from Dr Banks (psychotherapist Dr Nicholas Banks). He is engaging with the Safer Lives Programme – a 26-week programme for men who engage in illegal sexual activities.”
Ms Behan asked for a further adjournment of sentencing so that Tim Bowen could engage with this programme.
Prosecution barrister, Dermot Sheehan said, “Given the nature of the offences it is probably appropriate that the sentencing judge would be informed that this programme is completed. I would suggest a date next term to see how matters progress.”
Judge Helen Boyle adjourned sentencing until February 15, 2023. The judge directed the preparation of an up-to-date probation report and a report from Dr Banks.
The background to the case is that Tim Bowen attempted to contact a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl for the purpose of sexual exploitation and the vigilante group made recordings of him which they posted online and they alerted gardaí.
Detective Sergeant Gary Duggan arrested Tim Bowen, 45, with an address at Cottage View, Monkstown, County Cork, and charged him with two counts. The first charge stated that between July 4 and July 26, 2019 he did attempt to communicate with a child by way of communication technology for the purpose of facilitating the sexual exploitation of that child.
The second charge stated that at Costa Coffee in Bishopstown on July 26, 2019 he did attempt to intentionally meet the child for the purpose of doing something that constituted sexual exploitation of the child, namely sexual assault.
Bowen later pleaded guilty to both counts.
Ms Behan said on the last occasion: “I do have a concern. He did have a diagnosis of bi-polar when he was young. But we do not have a psychiatric report.”
On the question of contacting a girl who was 14, Ms Behan said, “In fact it was members of a vigilante paedophile-hunting group. He was approached by this group. The guards were called. So there is no actual victim as such. It was a ruse used by this group... He has no previous convictions. He is 45. He was working fulltime up to when this occurred. His marriage has ended as a result of this. He is in another relationship.”
The accused is working part-time in a job that does not entail contact of any kind with children.
Ms Behan said, “He has had suicide attempts since this. There have been times when he has not been able to face the day. This all happened at a time when his marriage had broken down.
“He had been involved in online conversations that led to sexual activity – none of which were children,” Ms Behan said.
Bail conditions require Tim Bowen to sign on twice a week at Togher garda station, notify gardaí of any change of address, surrender his passport and to be contactable by Det. Sgt. Duggan by mobile phone at all times.