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Father of victim of Matthew Horan does not believe paedophile can be rehabilitated

A father of a victim of Matthew Horan has said that he does not think the paedophile can be rehabilitated and called on people to immediately stop targeting the home of the paedophile’s father as he "must be going through enough turmoil".

Horan, 26, coerced young girls to send him sexually graphic pictures and videos of themselves and was jailed on Friday for seven-and-a-half years.

The court had heard how the Dublin man used Skype, Snapchat, Instagram and Kik - an anonymous instant messaging application - to send and receive child porn images from six identified child users in Ireland and nine unknown users around the world.

Lawyers for Horan also told the court that Horan’s father’s home in Clondalkin was attacked last Monday, with the front door and windows smashed.

The father of one of Horan’s victims had contacted RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline on Friday, but did not want to come on air because he wanted to protect his daughter.

He sent the programme a statement which was read out on air today, and in it he pleaded with people to stop attacking the home of Horan’s father, saying: "They are not doing any good, certainly not in our name, as this man has not been found guilty of any crime, and must be going through enough turmoil in his brain, as I am today."

He also spoke about how his daughter got upset when she heard people talking about the case last Friday.

He said: "My daughter heard you speak on the show and through tears asked me to turn the radio off.

"I only heard the programme from about 2.20pm or so and was not with it when leaving the radio on in the first place."

One of the programme’s callers last Friday had said that they did not think that paedophiles, such as Matthew Horan, could be rehabilitated, and the victim’s father agreed saying that Mr Horan knew what he was doing.

He said: "He (Matthew Horan) was caught twice more after the first time he was arrested and in my opinion his behaviour was escalating.

"As for the autism spectrum defence I don’t accept it, as he was very clever and calculating in how he got his victims to do what he wanted them to do. This is a very manipulative person who knew exactly how to get these children to do what he wanted."

He also revealed that he has had no reply from Instagram since he told them about what Mr Horan was doing, and questioned if the social media firm had an obligation to get in touch with the Gardaí about it.

He said: "I would also like to point out that when I contacted Instagram to let them know what this person was doing they never replied. I read that they were doing all they can to help stop this sort of thing.

"So a huge question needs to be asked as to why they did not reply to me, or at least get in touch with the Gardaí to report this.

"Is there not a law that states you are obliged to?"

In a piece focusing recently on social media apps,  a spokesperson for Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said they have “zero tolerance for child exploitation”.

The social media company's statement went on: “When detected, our teams ensure that any offending content is immediately removed and reported to the relevant authorities. We also work closely with An Garda Síochána, in particular the Cybercrime Unit. In addition, we work with safety experts to develop powerful tools to combat this kind of activity and we have a global team responding around the clock to reports from our community.” 

After thanking Gardaí for their "incredible" work and "dedication", he finished by saying that "more needs to be done with social media to stop" paedophiles.

The statement of the victim’s father can be read below:

"As a parent of one of the children Matthew Horan preyed upon I agree with the caller on Friday that didn’t believe paedophiles can be rehabilitated. He was caught twice more after the first time he was arrested and in my opinion his behaviour was escalating.

"As for the autism spectrum defence I don’t accept it, as he was very clever and calculating in how he got his victims to do what he wanted them to do. This is a very manipulative person who knew exactly how to get these children to do what he wanted.

"One of the callers came across to me as having more sympathy for him than his victims, I say if this ever happens to anyone you know I wonder would you have the same opinion. I am sure her intentions are in the right place, and many more may agree, but for me sitting here today the enormity of what has happened has only just hit home as I had no intention of speaking out.

"My daughter heard you speak on the show and through tears asked me to turn the radio off. I only heard the programme from about twenty past 2 or so and was not with it when leaving the radio on in the first place.

"To those people that are targeting the home of Matthew Horan’s father I urge them to stop this immediately, as they are not doing any good - certainly not in our name, as this man has not been found guilty of any crime, and must be going through enough turmoil in his brain, as I am today.

"I would also like to point out that when I contacted Instagram to let them know what this person was doing they never replied. I read in the Independent that they were doing all they can to help stop this sort of thing. So a huge question needs to be asked as to why they did not reply to me, or at least get in touch with the Gardaí to report this. Is there not a law that states you are obliged to?

"I’ve read many times about these things happening to children and now it’s happened to our child. The anger I felt towards what I thought was a 13-year-old boy turned to guilt that I didn’t do enough to protect her from a grown man even though I checked what she was doing online regularly.

"To the guards that spoke to me over the last 2 years I want to say thank you for all you have done, as to catch people like Matthew Horan all this material has to be looked at. This is an incredible thing to have to do and go home to a normal life. RESPECT to all of you for your dedication.

"Finally, I would like to say how proud we are of our daughter who spoke intimately with specialist guards in the hope that this would help stop him doing it to anybody else which for the next few years at least it will. Sadly there are other Matthew Horans out there and more needs to be done with social media to stop them."