Man discussed having sex with children to impress escort, court told

Barry Nugent (34) pleaded guilty to a single count of producing child sex abuse images in the form of text messages on dates between January 2016 and June 2018
Man discussed having sex with children to impress escort, court told

Seán McCárthaigh

A Wicklow man who engaged in text exchanges about having sex with children to impress several transgender individuals, including a jailed Brazilian escort, has received a three-year suspended prison term.

A sitting of Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court heard the man had on one occasion discussed with a transgender Brazilian sex worker about drugging a child in order to have sexual contact with the victim.

Barry Nugent (34), of Church View, Arklow, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty to a single count of producing child sexual abuse images in the form of text messages on dates between January 2016 and June 2018 contrary to section 5 of the Child Pornography and Trafficking Act 1998.

The court heard on Wednesday that Nugent had engaged in three conversations with different transgender people, in which he discussed having sexual acts with underage children as part of what were described as “sexual fantasies”.

In one exchange, there was a total of 424 messages in a conversation about sexual acts with minors, in which Nugent said he would “not go below teens”

In a discussion about a 15-year-old boy, Nugent wrote: “Yes. That’s kind of hot. I wouldn’t mind filling him up.”

The court heard one of the individuals had texted Nugent about loving to have sex with teenagers aged 15-17, to which Nugent replied: “Stop – me too. They are all so filthy.”

Detective Garda David Smith said the accused had come to the attention of gardaí via an investigation into a transgender Brazilian escort, Bruno Binda De Souza, also known as Bruna Meirelles.

Det Garda Smith said Nugent had been identified following analysis of devices taken from Meirelles and the defendant’s laptop was seized during a search of his home in June 2020.

Child abuse images

The witness said the accused had admitted meeting Meirelles on six or seven occasions for casual sex after they had met on a dating site.

Meirelles or De Souza (33), of Brabazon Hall, Cork Street, Dublin 8, was jailed for three years by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in March 2021 after being found in possession of thousands of “depraved” child abuse images. One of her convictions related to conversations she had with Nugent.

Det Garda Smith said Nugent and Meirelles had texted about drugging a child in order to have sexual contact with the child.

He said they had discussed having to be careful about the dosage to be given to ensure they were finished before its effect on the child had worn off.

After he was arrested in June 2021, Det Garda Smith said Nugent admitted he had engaged in “kinky” conversation with Meirelles in order to impress her as he regarded her as “out of his league”.

“I thought I would impress her and keep her interested. She was tall and domineering even in texts,” he told gardaí.

Det Garda Smith told counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, James Kelly BL, that Nugent said he never intended to act out any of his sexual fantasies and had only engaged in sexualised text messages “to turn them on”.

Under cross-examination by counsel for the accused, Edmund Sweetman BL, the witness accepted that Nugent had engaged in sexual fantasies by text in order to impress Meirelles.

Mr Sweetman said the accused, who works as a security guard, had a “wrong, immature fixation with a transgender person”.

Sentencing Nugent to three years in prison, Judge Patrick Quinn said he would suspend the full term due to the exceptional circumstances of the case.

The judge accepted the offending texts, which covered a three-year period, were confined to private chats with three other individuals which were “not for wide internet consumption”.

He noted they had not been initiated by Nugent, who had engaged with other individuals in order to impress them.

Judge Quinn said he was satisfied from a psychological report that Nugent had no sexual orientation towards young children. He also noted that there was never any question that the defendant would carry out any of his fantasies.

The judge observed that Nugent was originally assessed at being at a moderate risk of reoffending which had been reduced to low risk after he underwent counselling.

He remarked the accused only realised the gravity of his offence over time but now found what he did was “personally revolting, as indeed he should”.

Judge Quinn suspended the term of imprisonment for a period of five years on condition that Nugent places himself under the supervision of the Probation Service and agrees to undergo any recommended counselling and treatment programmes.

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